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Call No. r6 Accession No. f 6 . 


This book should be returned on or before the date last marked below. 









D.Litt., Ph.D. 








First Published in 1929 



OF 1928 



I HAVE been asked by the author to write an 
introductory note to her book on Ethical Problems. 
I understand the chapters are expansions of lectures 
given to International Nurse Students reassembled at 
Bedford College for Women, University of London, in 
July 1928, to follow the Course of a Summer School. 

I greatly appreciate the honour that has been done to 
me, in my position as a nurse, and I rejoice to have the 
opportunity of thanking the author for her sympathetic 
understanding of our work, and for the helpful and 
wholly admirable way in which she has simplified for us 
the difficult language of Ethics and applied its principles 
to our working life and conduct. She has interpreted us 
to ourselves and given expression to what we have felt 
and thought but have never realized the need to voice. 

No nurse who reads these delightful and inspiring 
chapters can fail to admire the practical grasp the 
author possesses so unusual in one outside the profes- 
sion of all that goes to the making of a nurse : her 
obligations as well as her rights ; her privileges as well 
as her duties ; the sanctity of her close intimacy with 
the patient ; the peculiar relationship with the medical 
profession ; in fine, the building up of a character 
around a personality infused with the spirit of service. 

I would like to quote from the chapter on vocation 
what seems to me to be an epitome of the rich store we 
may garner from this book : 

1 In considering character we may claim generally 
that the higher the character the greater the value of 
the service which nurse or social worker can render 



through her own personality. Where there is voca- 
tion the nurse or worker will give of her best, and this 
best is something for which professional skill and 
knowledge is not enough. In the thoroughly trained 
nurse or worker we may take efficiency for granted. 
Character supplies that something more which makes 
the nurse or worker a power for good in the service to 
which she is devoted/ 

Matron, St. Thomas's Hospital 
Superintendent, Nightingale Training School 

March 1929 


MY aim in this text-book has been to give a concise 
statement of ethical principles and to apply 
these principles to some of the problems that 
arise in the professional work and life of the hospital 
nurse and social worker. 

This treatment of the subject, although primarily 
addressed to nurses and social workers, will neverthe- 
less furnish a suitable introduction to Ethics for any 
student who finds a psychological survey of conduct 
and a study of concrete problems a helpful approach to 
moral philosophy. 

I am greatly indebted to Miss Lloyd Still for finding 
time to read the book in proof and for generously 
attaching to it her commendation and expression^ of 
goodwill. I should also like to thank Miss L. S. Stebbing 
for reading the proofs. 














WILL 71 



INDEX 147 




A members of a community, be it large or be it 
small, we realize that we have obligations and 
claims or rights in relation to other members. 
We have obligations to accord certain treatment to 
others and we have claims to certain treatment from 
others. We realize further that these two facts are 
interdependent. If we have rights we ipso facto have 
obligations, and if we have obligations we ipso facto 
have rights. As tenant in relation to landlord I have 
obligations to pay rent, to keep certain interior fittings 
of the house in their present situation, but I also have 
claims for certain outside repairs from the landlord. I 
have to give him so many months' notice before leaving, 
but then, equally, he has to give me so many months' 
notice before turning me out. If the relations in which 
we stand to any section of the community are complex 
or peculiar our obligations and rights will be peculiar 
also. The relation of a nurse as a member of a hospital 
staff to the governing body of the hospital, to the 
matron, to the medical staff, to other members of the 
nursing staff brings in each case its own obligations and 
its own rights. Relation to some nursing organization 
brings similar obligations and rights. Special and 
peculiar in a high degree is the relation of a nurse to her 
patient. There is perhaps no other relation in the 
scheme of social relationships like that between nurse 
and patient. In its intimacy and one-sided dependency 



it resembles in some respects that of parent to child. 
It therefore carries with it peculiar obligations and rights. 
When we look at social obligations and rights we 
recognize that many of them are regulated by legal 
provisions, others again by long-established custom and 
tradition, others, of restricted scope, are regulated by 
custom or usage which holds only within the sphere 
wherein the obligations and rights are exercised ; such 
limited custom we term ' etiquette '. The relation of a 
nurse to the governing body of a hospital will illustrate 
obligations and rights regulated by law. There is a 
contract ; the nurse can claim certain salary, certain 
training, etc. ; she is obliged on her side to give service, 
to work for a certain length of time in that organization. 
There is, further, tradition and custom, regulating her 
relations to the governing body, to the matron, and to 
the medical staff. There will also be ' etiquette '. In 
some respects this may vary from hospital to hospital, 
but it will regulate obligations and rights within its own 


Where rights and obligations are fixed by law or by 
custom or by etiquette it may seem as if ethical problems 
have n6 place. Lines of conduct are plainly laid down. 
In the case of legal obligations and rights there are 
penalties attached to their evasion. The very name 
' etiquette ' points to the labelling of what should, and 
what should not, be. Can we from these considerations 
reach an indication of the sphere of moral obligation and 
of the region where ' ethical principles ' apply ? We 
may ask, Is it concerned with those rights and obligations 
which are left untouched by law on the one side and 
tradition (wide or narrow) on the other ? It is evident 
that moral issues for the individual often do lie in just 
this region. ' What ought I to do ? ' 'Is that morally 


wrong ? ' are questions which frequently arise in situa- 
tions where we find no guidance from fixed usage and 
are not confronted with any legal enactment. But 
although it is true that this middle realm of social relation 
may supply us with the greater number of our ethical 
problems, its boundaries do not delimit the sphere of 
Ethics. Behind all the rights and obligations marked 
out by law or by custom there lies a question. We can 
ask, ' Is the line of action laid down as legally obligatory, 
morally right ? ' 'Is this custom what ought to be ? ' 
' Is it right or is it wrong ? ' If the question in each case 
is not meaningless it is clear that we are bringing into 
it some idea different from that of ' legal obligation ' or 
' traditional custom ', otherwise we are asking, ' Is this 
legal obligation legally binding ? ' 'Is this traditional 
custom traditional ? ' tautology. We are not asking 
whether the obligation has been prescribed or the 
custom has been followed, but whether it ' ought to have 
been prescribed ', ' ought to have been followed '. It is 
the business of Ethics to examine the character of this 
' ought ' or obligation, and such an examination wiD 
be relevant not only for the practical issues of what we 
have described as the middle sphere, but also for those 
lines of conduct laid down by law or by traditional 
custom. Ethical principles are in this sense wider than 
those of law or custom. W T e may perhaps make this 
clearer if we go on to point out in this connexion the 
difference between Ethics and any historical or socio- 
logical study. It is the business of Sociology to trace 
out how certain customs grew up, e.g. burial customs 
among a certain people. It may show how the customs 
of one group influenced those of another, trace the 
diffusion of culture from people to people, but in so 
doing ethical questions are not raised. There is no 
evaluation. We are not asking, ' Ought this custom to 
have been followed ? ' ' Was it morally right ? ' we 


are determining what actually happened. In contrast 
to the positive attitude of science or history, which 
strives to describe facts as they are observed to be, to 
classify them, to discover the relations between them, 
Ethics is a normative study. 1 It is evaluating and 
regulative. It is concerned with constraining value. 
We change the scientific or the historical attitude to an 
ethical one when we inquire whether this custom was 
justifiable, was right, instead of describing the custom 
in question, how it arose, how widespread it was among 
people, what they were led to do or not to do in con- 
sequence of it. We shall have again to touch upon the 
relation of Ethics to Sociology in a later chapter. 

However closely obligations and rights may be bound 
up with the particular character of social relations and 
may vary as these vary, the ethical principles upon 
which these obligations and rights ultimately rest do 
not thus vary. There are no ethical principles peculiar 
to the relations of landlord and tenant ; nor, to take 
wider instances, are there ethical principles peculiar 
to commerce, peculiar to law, peculiar to medicine. 
The application of ethical principles may give rise to 
special difficulties owing to the complexity of social 
relations, _ but this is always the case when general 
principles are applied to particular instances. We must 
guard against the belief that there are varieties of 
Ethics. It is no more correct to speak of ' Nursing 
Ethics ' than to speak of ' Coal Mining Ethics ' or 
' Teaching Ethics ' or ' Dressmaking Ethics '. What 
such a phrase presumably is meant to indicate is the 
application of ethical principles to the practical problems 
which are likely to arise in the profession of nursing. 
But the ethical principles which have to be applied here 

1 Latin norma carpenter's square. In Greek r& Wittd 
meant ' that which had to do with character '. It was used as a 
title to describe Aristotle's treatise wherein the excellence and 
defects of character were considered. 


are the same as those which have to be applied in any 
walk of life. 

In Part II we shall discuss some of these problems and 
the kindred ones that arise in social work. But before 
attempting to consider problems in the light of ethical 
principles we must strive to arrive at some understanding 
of these principles themselves. In Part I, therefore, 
we shall try to do this, taking the moral judgment as 
the central topic of Ethics, and focusing our questions 
round it. We have three questions to answer. We 
have in the first place to consider what it is that the 
moral judgment ' This ought to be done ', ' This is 
good ' refers to. We must next ask what the judgment 
means, and thirdly, we must inquire how that meaning 
is determined. 

To what, then, does the moral judgment refer ? What 
is it that is pronounced obligatory, or good, or evil ? A 
first rough answer is ' Conduct '. Whenever there is a 
moral pronouncement the conduct of human beings, or 
of animate creatures treated as human beings, is under 
consideration directly or indirectly. It is directly under 
consideration when we are dealing with individual 
agents, and it is indirectly under consideration when 
we are concerned with institutions. We may follow 
Professor Hobhouse in describing an institution ' as the 
whole or any part of an established and recognized 
apparatus of social life whether of the community as 
a whole or some special part of it ' ; l e.g., marriage is 
an institution, slavery is an institution, so is the Church 
when considered as an organization of social relations 
with specific rites and ceremonies and not as an associa- 
tion of individuals. As apparatus for social life an 
institution is the medium for conduct, and when it is 
judged morally it is judged in this respect and pro- 
nounced ' good ' or ' evil ', ' right ' or ' wrong '. In the 
1 Hobhouse, Social Development, p. 48. 


limits at our disposal we do not propose to discuss the 
reference of the moral judgment to institutions. 

Conduct is too general a term to satisfy a careful 
inquiry into the reference of the moral judgment. How 
wide is the sphere of conduct to be ? Is it to include the 
actions which are the outcome of instinctive impulses 
and appetites, the flight from danger, the quenching of 
thirst ? Are the expressions of emotion, the wringing 
of the hands in grief, the curl of the lips in scorn, con- 
duct ? If we answer ' No ', then we may ask whether 
all these unintentional performances lie outside the 
sphere of Ethics ? Is the reference of the moral judg- 
ment restricted to intentional action, or even more 
narrowly, to action which is the outcome of choice ? 
It is here that a psychological preamble to ethical 
principles is called for, and it is with this that we shall 



THE relevant chapters of psychology for our 
purpose are those that deal with behaviour and 
conduct. We need to trace the stages of develop- 
ment that link simple reflexes to voluntary action. 
We need to see in outline the course of development 
that lies between recoil from a prick and recoil from 
a crime. 


The psychologist begins his study of human behaviour 
with the study of the simplest responses made to the 
environment, viz. reflexes. These are actions called 
forth directly by the stimulation of the nervous system. 
They are facts of physiology rather than of psychology. 
In many reflex responses there is no conscious experi- 
ence of the movement made in consequence of stimula- 
tion, e.g. the contraction and dilatation of the pupil 
of the eye to increase or decrease in intensity of light. 
In other cases the individual only experiences the re- 
sponse when it takes place under unusual conditions, 
e.g. breathing in a rarefied atmosphere. Some reflex 
responses are always experienced, e.g. sneezing in 
response to irritation of the membrane in the nasal 

The repertory of reflexes, native or original to the 
organism, is characteristic of the species to which an 
animal belongs. It has recently been shown that the 
native responses of an organism can be extended by a 



process termed conditioning. It is possible to make an 
animal respond to a stimulus that originally or naturally 
evoked no response. Thus, if a stimulus B naturally 
called forth the reflex response X, an inadequate 
stimulus, A, can be made to do so by a process called 
conditioning. To achieve this result A is repeatedly 
given as the immediate predecessor of B. After a 
certain number of repetitions A alone without the 
presence of B will evoke the response X. Such a response 
is called a ' conditioned reflex '. An illustration may 
make this clearer. If the bare foot be given a faradic 
stimulation the foot will be withdrawn. This is a 
native reflex occurring without any wish or previous 
experience on the part of the individual stimulated. 
No such reflex response would be made to the sight of a 
red lamp. Suppose, however, that the red light is 
switched on just before the electric shock is given, and 
this order of events is given repeatedly, then in time it 
will be found sufficient to switch on the red light without 
giving the electric current. The foot will be jerked 
away as soon as the light appears. This reflex response 
is a ' conditioned ' response to light, whereas it was an 
' original ' response to the electric stimulus. 

Much work on conditioning of reflexes has been done 
by the~Russian physiologist Pavlov. He has performed 
many experiments with dogs. As a physiologist he has 
been interested in studying the number of repetitions 
necessary to establish the reflex, the circumstances 
which interfere with conditioning, the length of time for 
which the conditioned responsiveness will endure, the 
circumstances under which it will disappear and a 
reconditioning become necessary. As a physiologist he 
has not been interested in asking what part the con- 
scious experiencing of the stimuli and response plays in 
the whole process. He speaks, however, of the ' what- 
is-it ? ' attitude of the dog on receiving the stimuli. 


This expression implies that conscious experience has 
its part in the conditioning process. The line between 
physiology and psychology is hard to draw, and in 
drawing it one may be dogmatic, but such dogmatism is 
unavoidable. For the psychologist, if conscious experi- 
ence be admitted, conditioning is a form of ' learning 
from experience ', and this makes the designation 
' conditioned reflex ' seem a misnomer. The psycholo- 
gist would look at the affective side of experience in 
studying the process of conditioning. Thus to take the 
type of case carefully examined by Pavlov, viz. the 
saliva reflex of a dog to the sight of food. A dog's 
mouth waters at the sight of a tasty morsel. If this 
sight follows the sound of a bell, or if the sound of the 
bell continues while the meat is seen, the sound of 
the bell alone will, after a due number of repetitions 
of the two stimuli, condition the flow of saliva. The 
psychologist would consider that the pleasure value of 
the food situation was acquired also by the sound which 
preceded or entered into that situation, and that it was 
this acquirement of meaning and value which rendered 
one stimulus a substitute for the other and conditioned 
the response. 

All this may seem remote from Ethics and the moral 
judgment, but the first steps in regulating behaviour are 
important. To explain learning and regulation of 
behaviour the psychologist would claim that certain 
sense experiences are pleasant, others unpleasant. In 
such pleasantness and unpleasantness there is a begin- 
ning of value in the individual's world. By value we 
want to denote the character of any object in virtue 
of which it arouses an affective or conative attitude in a 
subject or knowing individual value is thus objective. 
It is something possessed by situations, things, and 
ideas, in so far as they awaken some affective or conative 
experience in any animal or human being. The sting 


that hurts, the rose which gives pleasure by its scent, 
the memory that makes me ashamed, the plan that 
arouses my impatience these objects all have value 
to me. 


It is now customary to claim that man has instincts 
as part of his native endowment. Instincts have 
always been recognized as part of the native equipment 
of animals, and it was a commonplace to contrast the 
behaviour of animals and the conduct of man : the 
former the manifestation of instinct, the latter of reason. 
Psychologists no longer accept the rigid antithesis 
which this description suggests. It is easier, however, 
to study the characteristics of instinctive behaviour in 
animals before coming to the question of instinct in 
man. When it is claimed that an animal does this or 
that from instinct, it is implied that when the animal is 
in a certain situation he makes a ' serviceable ' response, 
and, further, this response is made spontaneously : it 
has not been learned or acquired from the animal's 
previous acquaintance with the situation. The descrip- 
tion ' serviceable ' response indicates that the response 
considered in relation to the situation is of service to the 
animaf. Instincts, indeed, may be classified from the 
services they fulfil. There are (a) the instincts which 
procure food, (b) those which defend the animal from 
enemies and danger, (c) those which secure a mate, 
(d) those which protect the young of the species. 

The fact which impresses the biological student of 
instinct is the bodily mechanism which enables the 
animal to make the serviceable response to the environ- 
mental situation. The animal is preadapted for the 
behaviour required. Take, for example, the procuring 
of food : the animal is receptive to just those stimuli 
which arise from a food situation appropriate to his 


species, and in his body he has just the right tools for the 
execution of the response. The hawk has eyes which 
can sight his quarry from on high ; he has wings, beak, 
and talons to execute the flight and kill. 

From the onlooker's point of view there would seem 
little or nothing to differentiate these responses which 
are termed instinctive from the ' serviceable ' responses 
which are reflexes. Like reflexes they are original or 
native responses, and many biologists have regarded 
them as being fundamentally the same, the only dif- 
ference being in complexity. An instinctive response 
is frequently not one action but a series of actions 
all serving a single purpose. Nevertheless, degree of 
complication is not the whole of the difference. The 
instinctive response is much less fixed in character than 
the reflex. It will be an action for which the animal's 
bodily equipment fits him, but it is not always the same 
action. It will be, say, an action of defence, but it will 
be varied, and the variations appear to stand in relation 
to the animal's experience of the situation and to 
the progress of events. Moreover, the animal shows 
persistence in its response. If one action fails to fulfil 
the purpose, another effort is made. Persistence with 
varied effort has thus been singled out as the most 
striking characteristic of instinctive response. This 
characteristic in the response leads to two inferences 
about the animal's mental experience in instinctive 
behaviour : (a) that the animal appreciates the difference 
between success and failure and regulates his behaviour 
accordingly, and (6) that the animal experiences a 
continuous impulse or urge to act until satisfaction is 
experienced or until he is incapable of further action. 
So far as we know, consciousness of success or failure 
and a conative urge are lacking in reflex response. 
Reflexes are ' serviceable ' to the organism, and yet, 
as we have seen, many reflexes are not accompanied by 


any conscious experience. Even when consciousness is 
present, it appears to make no difference to the response. 
The response is not modified or varied in relation to 
success and failure. Given the stimulus, action takes 
place unless interfered with or unless totally inhibited 
by some conscious control, e.g. inhibition of the 
reflex blinking of the eyelids to a touch stimulation. 
The reflex response will be repeated as often as the 
stimulus is given or until the organism is exhausted. 
Such blank repetition shows nothing of the ' try, try 
again ' character of instinctive response. It is repetition 
and not persistence with varied effort due to the experi- 
ence of failure. It is from the psychological side rather 
than from the purely biological that we are justified in 
differentiating an instinctive response from a reflex. 

The bodily and mental organization which lies behind 
such a response is part of the animal's native endowment, 
and it is this organization which is termed Instinct. 
Professor McDougall has given great prominence to 
the topic in recent psychology, and we may cite his 
definition : ' An inherited or innate psycho-physical 
disposition which determines its possessor to perceive 
and to pay attention to objects of a certain class, to 
experience an emotional excitement of a peculiar 
quality upon perceiving such an object, and to act in 
regard to it in a particular manner, or at least to 
experience an impulse to such action.' l We have 
stressed the fact that in animals the bodily organism 
furnishes the instruments necessary both for reception 
of the stimuli and for the execution of the response 
movements. These instruments have been gradually 
evolved by the species and are now part of the congenital 
endowment of every member of the species. The 
physical side of the disposition referred to by Professor 
McDougall is thus in evidence. This renders it easier to 

1 Social Psychology, p. 25. 


recognize the responses which can appropriately be 
labelled ' instinctive '. When we turn to man we find 
little indication of the innate dispositions on the physical 
side, Man's congenital equipment, both for reception 
and for execution, is characterized by its range and 
plasticity. It does not furnish any clue of definite 
preadaptation to specific responses in specific situations. 
If we are to claim that man has instincts we must 
base our claim on congenital mental organizations. 
Man is preadapted to become aware of certain situations, 
to be affected by them, and to respond to them. He 
will perform any action of which he is capable and which 
is serviceable in the given situation. It is difficult to 
draw up a list of human instincts. The biological ends 
or purposes defence, procuring food, etc. may be 
served as well by intentional and deliberate conduct as 
by instinctive responses, so that these purposes in them- 
selves do not furnish a good basis of classification. 
Different psychologists offer different lists. Some 
include appetites (responses to recurrent bodily situa- 
tions, e.g. hunger, thirst), others exclude these. Some 
include only those instances of impulsive behaviour 
wherein both situation and response possess a specific 
character Specific Instincts. Others include behaviour 
which is impulsive, but which can only be described very 
generally as response to a situation of a certain broad 
type General Instincts. Thus ' fear ' is a specific 
instinct. Independently of the teaching of experience 
the child shows a disposition to hide or to shrink or 
to flee when in certain definite situations, viz. when 
experiencing sudden change of equilibrium, when 
hearing loud sounds, when seeing quick-moving objects. 
As an example of a general instinct we may name 
' imitation '. We can give no description of the situation 
which will call forth imitation. We can only say that it 
is more likely to be evoked by persons than by things. 


We cannot lay down the form imitation will take. It 
may be talking, it may be gesture, it may be posture, it 
may be walking, running, etc. The very generality of 
these tendencies seems to disqualify them from being 
regarded as Instincts. 1 

The feature of instinct that is important for ethical 
considerations is interest. Instincts manifest the con- 
genital interests of man. Man becomes interested in 
certain situations. This term denotes not only that he 
has an innate tendency to become aware of certain 
objects but that these objects have value for him. He 
is affected pleased, pained, or emotionally stirred and 
experiences an impulse or urge to action. In relation 
to congenital interests, then, stand primitive values. We 
may re-state the theory of instincts in man in terms of 
value. There are certain situations which have value 
for the human species. Man has a congenital endow- 
ment which makes him interested in these situations. 
He is affected and experiences an impulse to action. 
The resultant behaviour is termed instinctive. It is 
from these situations that man receives the first 
experiences of satisfied or unsatisfied conation. When 
satisfied the ' striving ' (in the case of appetites a better 
description is ' craving ' or ' want ') comes to an end. 
The situation which gives rise to conation has been 
changed in consequence of the impulsive behaviour, 
e.g. a child who in a danger situation runs to its mother 
and by this response satisfies the fear impulse. The 
situation is altered ; it is now sheltering and protective. 
The child who cries and makes restless movements 
through hunger is satisfied when he sucks his bottle. 

1 We append the following list of Specific and General Instincts 
drawn up by Professor Drever (Instinct in Man, p. 169, Cambridge 
University Press) : Specific : (Emotional) Fear, Anger, Hunting, 
Acquisitive, Curiosity, Gregarious, Courtship, Self-display, 
Self-abasement, Parental. General: Play, Experimentation, 
Imitation, Sympathy, Suggestibility. 


This example serves to bring out the incorporation of a 
reflex in an instinctive response. Sucking is a reflex 
to contact with the teat of the bottle ; here it is the end 
movement in an instinctive series of movements. Such 
incorporation of reflexes in instinctive responses is 

Instinctive behaviour is, as we have seen, serviceable. 
The responses which satisfy are not only endings, 
terminations of striving they may also be viewed as 
' ends ' in the sense of goals. There is, however, this 
great difference between the ' ends * of instinctive 
responses and the ' ends ' of intentional conduct the 
former are not aimed at by the individual. It is not fore- 
knowledge of the end, even where this is present, that 
brings the instinctive response about. The urge comes 
from the value of the given present situation. Instinctive 
action is often contrasted with intentional action as 
' blind ' action. It is not wholly blind. Each move- 
ment made and each ensuing change in the situation 
prompts the next movement. The ' next ' urges on to 
' the step beyond ', and, as we have already insisted, 
there is ' persistence ', a continuity in the conational 
experience. We might liken the blindness of instinctive 
action to that of a man walking along an unknown road 
by the light of a lantern. He will keep moving, and he 
adapts his movements to the character of the pathway 
just ahead of him shown up by the light of the lantern. 
One who acts intentionally with foresight might be 
likened to a man walking in full daylight with the sight 
of his goal before him and full knowledge of the ups and 
downs of the path that leads him there. 

We can review the position we have reached. We 
have seen that man in virtue of the constitution of 
his nervous system makes reflex responses to his en- 
vironment, and also we have granted that he makes 
instinctive responses (impulsive behaviour) to situations 


possessed of ' primitive ' value for the species in virtue 
of his native endowment. We have now to ask how he 
comes to be moved to action by situations which do not 
possess ' primitive ' value. Study of young children 
has led some psychologists to infer that individuals 
are interested in situations for which no primitive value 
could be claimed. Moreover, individuals show a facility 
for learning along the lines of these interests ; e.g. one 
child is interested in machinary, another in music. No 
one claims that machines or music constitute situations 
that appeal to the human species as such. These lines 
of interest and facility in learning which characterize 
individuals must either be regarded as due to individual 
congenital endowment or as acquired very early from 
the physical or social environment. We must leave it 
as an open question in the present state of knowledge. 
We may, however, stress this point, that the interrelation 
of knowing, being affected and experiencing an impulse, 
is the fundamental fact of mental life. The organiza- 
tions which we term instincts and regard as innate are 
only certain definite forms of this basic relationship, 
forms which have been built up by the history of the 
species. It is for this reason that we prefer to restrict 
the term ' Instinct ' to the Specific Instincts and to 
regard the so-called General Instincts as expressions of 
the basic interrelation of cognition, feeling, and impulse. 
We regard man's capacity to feel pleasure and pain from 
sense-given situations as wider than his organized 
instinctive endowment. It is this capacity which leads 
to such actions as those broadly described as play or 
experimentation. It is to the interrelation of sense 
experience, feeling, and impulse that we shall look in our 
effort to explain the development of new values for the 



(a) We may notice first ' transference ' of value. In 
referring to the learning implied in conditioned reflexes 
we said that the conditioning stimulus acquired the 
value of the original stimulus. We require a psycho- 
logical explanation for this transference. When we as 
psychologists consider the environment in which an 
animal or child finds itself, we readily analyse it into a 
number of discrete objects ; a single object or thing we 
regard as possessing a number of distinguishable qualities, 
colour, shape, size. We are apt to overlook the fact that 
for the animal or child the situation to which the 
stimulus belongs is an unanalysed totality. It has its 
own character as a totality, and the value it possesses 
likewise belongs to it as a totality and not to this or that 
feature of it. Thus if sound be present in a totality 
wherein there is sight and smell of food, the sense 
situation for a dog is still a totality having a ' pleasure ' 
value and will call forth the flow of saliva as response. 
The total situation and the response constitute a pattern. 
The oftener the totality is repeated the better will the 
pattern be fixed. So definite will it become that in time 
a part only of the totality is sufficient to reinstate the 
pattern. We are tempted to write ' A part stands for 
the whole/ This statement would be wrong ; it implies 
too much. The distinction of part and whole is not 
present to the animal. It would be truer to write, 
' The part is the whole/ This example illustrates what 
for the psychologist is transference of value from a 
totality to a part. 

We may equally well have a transference of value 
from one whole to another through a common part. 
The value of one unanalysed totality is found in another 
which is experienced as like it. To the psychologist 
who sees each totality as an analysable whole the 


likeness is due to the presence of some common part, 
but to an animal or very young child this analytic 
realization of likeness is impossible. We may see 
recognition of unanalysed likeness in the following 
incident. A baby who had been taken week by week 
to a clinic to be weighed and had hitherto given no sign 
that the process possessed any fear value, one week 
suddenly showed that it had acquired this value : he 
clung to his mother when she tried to hand him to the 
nurse for weighing. Between this visit and the previous 
one he had been taken to a hospital and had had his 
gums lanced. The pain value of that danger situation 
had been transferred to this. It may have been the 
common feature, smell of disinfectant ; it may have 
been sight of a white-capped nurse, which had given the 
one totality the value possessed by the other. 

(b) We may next take the acquirement of meaning 
and value through response. By meaning we want 
to denote here whatever an individual is aware of in a 
stimulus situation. We have seen that response changes 
the stimulus situation for the individual. When a 
stimulus situation recurs again and again, and the same 
response is made each time, the stimulus situation, the 
response, and the consequent change come in time to 
make one totality. Retentiveness is responsible for the 
integration of the response situation into the pattern. 
But the response situation gives a new meaning and 
value to the stimulus situation that is one with it. The 
burnt child fears the pretty flame ; the pretty-touch-me 
situation which called for the response is one totality 
with the painful burnt finger. The situation has a new 
meaning and a new value from the pattern that has 
arisen. We might be tempted to say that the stimulus 
situation now ' stands ' for, or is a ' sign of ', the re- 
sponse situation. The expression, however, implies an 
analysis of events which in all probability has 


no place in the consciousness of an animal or young 

(c) We have value acquired through intelligent 
analysis and associations of past experience. In the 
beginning of life transference of value and acquirement 
of value is largely dependent upon the play of external 
circumstances ; but with growth of intelligence and 
increasing scope of memory this is no longer the case. 
The totality of a stimulus situation becomes a true 
whole. The different features that constitute it are 
discriminated from one another ; there is analytic 
recognition of likenesses and differences. A given ' this ' 
is compared with a remembered ' that '. The meaning 
of the situation as a whole can be distinguished from 
the meaning of separate features that enter into it. 
Similarly, the value of the whole and the value of 
distinguished parts within the whole can be different. 
Taken as a whole a situation may have a fear value, 
but the presence of a certain person may neutralize this 
value. Thus a child may be reassured by the presence 
of his mother. Her protective value outweighs the 
terrifying darkness of a tunnel. This analysis of 
situations leads to greater diversity of values. The 
mosaic of experience grows more varied in meaning 
and consequently richer in value. Situations can be 
analysed now in this connexion, now in that, resolved 
into parts, re-synthesized into new patterns on the lines 
of past experience. 

(d) Suggestion is a further source of new values. 
Intercourse with others furnishes occasion for the 
acquirement of new meanings and values. Imitation of 
another will often introduce a child to a new domain of 
action and to new situations. In the normal child's 
world there is a conspiracy among the adult members to 
tempt him into new paths of adventure. Every exhibi- 
tion of the appreciation of value by one person is 


suggestive to the observer. This is seen in its simplest 
form in what is termed ' contagion of emotion '. A 
situation which has no fear value for an individual will 
become an occasion of terror upon an exhibition of fear 
by others. The same influence is at work when a 
speaker by his tone of voice or manner shows his own 
emotional attitude towards the theme he is speaking 
about. He makes the topic seem impressive or worth- 
less. He imparts not ideas only, but values. The 
process begins in the nursery. Mother or nurse convey 
values by their behaviour, by their tone of voice. 
' This ' becomes ' horrid ', ' that ' becomes ' attractive '. 
New values and new interests arise in the child's world. 
Some of our first moral values come by suggestion. 

If we restrict the term * instinctive ' behaviour to 
actions prompted by primitive values, we may use the 
wider denomination ' impulsive ' for all behaviour which 
is the outcome of value in a sense-given situation, no 
matter whether the value is congenital for the individual 
or acquired through experience. It is the given present 
which impels the individual to act. 


Side by side with this enrichment of the world in 
meaning and value and enlargement in the scope of 
impulsive behaviour there is developing a new form of 
conation. The individual is moved to act by what may 
be, by the idea of the situation his action will bring 
about when performed. This is action consciously 
directed towards an end, and done for the sake of that end. 
It is memory of past consequences of impulsive action 
that makes this possible. The child remembers what 
has been. He wants to enjoy again something that has 
had pleasure value or to avoid something that was 
painful. He is lured on by the idea of what his action 


will bring to pass. In impulsive action the drive or 
impulse came from the value of the present situation, 
from what was given. In intentional action the urge 
comes from value attached to the idea of what may be 
realizable through action. In impulsive action there is a 
vis a tergo, in intentional action there is a vis a fronte. 
We might use our previous example of the burnt child 
fears the fire to show the difference between impulsive 
and intentional action. Where fire is just simply a 
fear-giving situation the avoidancy is impulsive vis a 
tergo. It was as a situation with this acquired value 
that we considered it. Avoidance of fire might also be 
an intentional action. If the child clearly remembered 
how he was burnt he might act now with caution in 
order to avoid the accident that happened before. He 
acts with an end in view : vis a fronte. 

Extension of interest through the multiplication of 
value situations fosters the growth of intentional action. 
The values that are, the values given in the present 
situation are few in comparison with the values that 
may be, the values given not in the present stimulus 
situation but in idea. When such values are not at 
once realizable by action we have the state known as 
desire. An example will make this clear. A toy pistol 
in a shop window does not constitute a ' primitive ' 
value situation and evoke an instinctive response, but 
to the human boy such a sight is interesting. It has an 
' acquired ' value. He has learnt, perhaps by suggestion, 
that the possession of such an object gives joy. The 
situation then has a drive, and if the pistol were his for 
the taking, like a bird's nest in a hedge, then his taking 
it would be an impulsive action. But it is not there for 
the taking. It must be purchased. The possession of 
the pistol is now an end only to be realized by the act of 
purchasing. Suppose our boy to have the money in his 
pocket and to go into the shop and to buy the pistol, his 


action is intentional, for there was an end given in idea- 
possession. Yet from the promptitude and ease with 
which this end is accomplished the whole action differs 
little from an impulsive one. In many cases where we 
falsely claim to have ' acted on impulse ' the situation 
is of this type. There is the idea of an end, but it is 
suggested directly by the given situation and realized 
by some simple action. But let us now suppose that 
our schoolboy had not the requisite money in his pocket. 
The end possession cannot be at once realized and 
will become prominent in consciousness, and should the 
conation persist, there arises the state desire. In 
desire we can distinguish (a) the idea of the end, (b) 
striving, often accompanied by bodily restlessness, and 
(c) ' the pain of shortcoming '. The present situation is 
unsatisfying. Such expressions as ' burning desire ', 
' longing ', emphasize this aspect of the whole condition. 
Upon desire will ensue a review of the means requisite 
to realize the end, the steps that must be taken and the 
way in which the end can be accomplished. It is at this 
stage that many desires die out. The means are seen 
to be impossible or the steps to be taken impracticable. 
Desires that die so quickly may be more aptly termed 
' wishes '. ^They never come into the realm of practical 
politics. The schoolboy might remember that his 
pocket-money is pledged for the rest of the term and 
that he had prised open his money-box and spent the 
contents last week. He would give up the thought of 
possessing the pistol as hopeless. In other cases though 
the means are not impossible they are difficult. Specu- 
lation as to whether ' the game is worth the candle ' 
arises ; the end is desired less and less the more closely 
it is considered in relation to the means required for its 
realization. Consideration of the means is not all. 
The end has to be brought into relation with the self. 
The end is not merely a desired end, but it is my end or 


an end for me. This consideration may show the end 
in a new light. Something may awaken desire ; yet 
when we come to look at it closely, and to think of our- 
selves as realizing that end, we may find it unsuitable. 
One may desire to undertake a sea-voyage and then 
realize that such an enterprise is unsuitable in one's 
present state of health. 

Should the desire endure while means are thought out, 
and should the end be recognized as an ' end for me ', 
then there will ensue the ' I will ', the ' fiat ', which is 
the act of volition. There is the belief that the end will 
be realized so far as that realization depends upon me. 
The act that follows on such volition is a voluntary act. 
The actual bodily movements are not in themselves 
part of the volition. Willing is complete with the fiat. 

We have regarded desire as the prologue to volition. 
Can we have volition without desire ? The idea that 
rouses desire has value ; it is in virtue of its value that 
it excites conation ; it is the value of the end that makes 
the present by contrast unsatisfying. Can a bare idea 
apart from value and desire evoke volition ? We can 
answer this question in the negative. 

Such an answer may seem to overlook the claim of 
so-called ideo-motor actions. Here action is said to 
follow on the vivid idea of the particular movement to 
be performed or on the idea of the result which would 
follow from such action. The examples usually cited 
fall into two types, though the difference between them 
is overlooked. First, there is action of the idee fixe type. 
An individual is said to perform some action in con- 
sequence of the fascination of an idea, e.g. to fling 
himself down a cliff because the idea of doing so was 
ever in his mind. Second, there are the actions carried 
out quasi-mechanically when an individual is thinking 
about something else, e.g. in talking to a friend one 
may pick a thread of cotton off her coat. In both 


types the alleged cause of action is inadequate. Actions 
of the first type border on the pathological. The idee 
fixe belongs to the same group of phenomena as obses- 
sions, phobias, compulsion neuroses. The power of the 
idea which dominates consciousness is derived from its 
setting, and this setting is repressed. Such repression 
involves dissociation from the current ideas of the 
individual's reflective life. The idee fixe is isolated. It 
cannot be opposed by other motives. It is impervious 
to the criticism of reason. Action in accordance with 
the idee fixe is frequently carried out against the volition 
of its victim He cannot be held morally responsible 
for the action. But such repression and dissociation 
find their explanation in emotional and instinctive^ 
tendencies. It is therefore from these that the impulsive 
power of the idea is derived. It moves the individual 
not qua idea, but qua dissociated idea having a value 
due to repressed associations. Actions of the second 
type are at bottom simple impulsive actions. They are 
familiar everyday actions whose performance offers no 
difficulty, and they occur when the main stream of 
conscious experience is concentrated on some other 
enterprise. If we like to stretch the term beyond its 
proper meaning we may say that here also there is 
' dissociation ' of consciousness. The division is only one 
between ' marginal ' and ' focal ' consciousness. What 
really matters is that there is absence of all inhibition ; 
a very slight impulsive value in the given situation will 
be sufficient to bring about the familiar kind of action 
which is characteristic of this type of ideo-motor 
response. Has not the thread of cotton such a value ? 
Lying there on the coat it is out of place and is provo- 
cative to the unoccupied hands. It is a thing to be 
picked off. Its removal satisfies. Were our hands 
occupied the situation would have no value ; were our 
thoughts not otherwise engaged they might inhibit the 


impulse. As it is, the situation has a value to our idle 
fingers. Professor James gives as a parallel illustration 
the action of taking fruit at intervals from a dish while 
carrying on an interesting conversation after dinner. 
Here again the action seems to be a straightforward 
impulsive one awakened by the sense-given situation. 
The appeal may be to our hands or to our eyes and 
hands say the fruit in question is a dish of cherries. 
It may be as a scrunchable thing or as a sweet thing 
that chocolates tempt us. The pleasure value of the 
stimulus situation is provocative and the satisfaction 
ensuing on action is marked. Idly scribbling while 
listening or thinking is another case of the same type. 
The presence of a pencil and paper prompts to action. 
It has value to the empty hand, and the action is satis- 
fying. In all these instances the major occupation is 
one where comparatively little bodily activity is called 
for. The disengaged state of the mobile parts of the 
body renders the individual open to values which other- 
wise would not influence him. One may generalize and say 
that the value of these situations is always a value derived 
from movement . This is not the same thing as saying that 
the action is called out by an idea of movement. We do 
not first imagine what we are going to do and then in 
virtue of this idea perform the action. We have a direct 
incentive to action from the given situation. It is for this 
reason that we call this type of so-called ideo-motor actions 


In voluntary action ' end ' awakens desire, and it does 
so in virtue of some value. An end present in idea and 
regarded as having value for me is termed a motive. It 
moves me to will its realization. The action by which 
this end is to be realized and any other actions relevant 
thereto constitute part of Intention, the part that may be 


described as purpose. Intention embraces all that we 
foresee as bound up with the performance of these 
actions, their consequence, and attendant circum- 
stances. This may be illustrated by an example. The 
idea of a spring holiday in Holland appeals to me from 
the reports I have heard of the beauty of the tulip-fields, 
or of the novelty of travel by canal-boats. It may 
appeal to me by the fame of the art collections and 
churches. The idea then awakens desire ; it has value. 
I begin to turn over ways and means, to consider the 
idea in all its bearing as an end for me. I will go to 
Holland in the spring. What is my motive ? I might 
give the end in one or all its values. My motive in 
going to Holland is to see the beauty of the tulip-fields, 
to visit the famous galleries, to travel by canal-boat. 
Being artistic the tulip-fields have value for me, loving 
pictures the galleries have value for me, etc. What is 
my intention ? I intend to journey to Holland in April 
and to visit tulip-fields, galleries, etc. That is my 
purpose. But I intend far more than this. I intend to be 
economical all the winter, not to go to any theatres or 
dances. I intend to read up the history of the towns I 
am going to visit. The sphere of 'intention is wider yet. 
If I go to Holland I cannot go to Devonshire and pay 
my usual visit to an old friend. This omission may 
possibly give offence. I intend to take this risk. I 
intend to go through all the discomfort that I know the 
crossing will entail for me. It is obvious that the 
sphere of intention is much wider than that of motive. 
The points just enumerated are not those that move me 
to go to Holland. Some writers would have us dis- 
tinguish between direct and indirect intentions. The 
former are immediate consequences bound up with the 
end ; the latter are further consequences following from 
these or contingent upon them. More important is the 
distinction between the intentions a man realizes clearly 


when he wills and those that he does not. In the fore- 
going example the omission of the customary visit to 
Devonshire and its contingent consequences is probably 
only glimpsed when making the voluntary decision. 
A negative intention, what we shall not do, is more 
easily overlooked than a positive one. A further 
distinction is that between inner and outer intentions. 
This distinction is applicable to motives also, and here 
becomes of ethical importance. In considering an act 
we can view it in relation to its outer (objective) con- 
sequences or in relation to its inner (subjective) conse- 
quences. We can look at the change it would bring 
about in the world of people and things (outer), or we 
can look at the change it would bring about in the 
affective life of the actor. To use our previous example. 
So far as it is my intention to go to Holland to visit this 
place and that my intentions are ' objective ', so also is 
my motive. We said my motive was seeing the beauty 
of the tulip-fields or travelling the waterways or visiting 
the galleries. This again may be called ' outer ' or 
objective. We might look at the matter differently. 
We might say what we intend is to bring about an 
enrichment of our knowledge of art, heighten our 
appreciation of colour, widen our outlook on life. We 
might claim that our motive is to satisfy our desire to 
travel by waterway, to have the pleasure of looking at 
the coloured fields, the art collections. Undoubtedly in 
many actions we aim at both subjective and objective 
purposes, we are moved by objective and by subjective 
ends. Usually, when this is the case, we are more 
conscious of the one than of the other. 


Failure to recognize the dual character of motives 
has given rise to difficulties. In Ethics it has given the 


problem of disinterested and interested motives. When- 
ever an individual aimed at producing some condition 
of his own affective life he was said to act from an 
interested motive. Whenever, on the other hand, he 
had an objective motive, he was said to act disin- 
terestedly. Some Ethical writers have denied the 
possibility of objective or disinterested motives and have 
narrowed all subjective or interested motives to two : 
pleasure and pain. The only ends recognized are 
experience of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Thus 
J. S. Mill writes : ' Desiring a thing and finding it 
pleasant, aversion to it and thinking of it as painful 
are ... in strictness of language, two different modes 
of naming the same psychological fact ... to think of 
an object as desirable (unless for the sake of its con- 
sequences), and to think of it as pleasant, are one and the 
same thing ; ... to desire anything except in propor- 
tion as the idea of it is pleasant, is a physical and 
metaphysical impossibility.' l This doctrine is called 
' Psychological Hedonism '. It is clear that the existence 
of disinterested motives is a crucial question. If they 
are psychologically impossible, then it is not possible 
to desire virtue for its own sake or to desire another's 
pleasure at the expense of our own. 

The doctrine of Psychological Hedonism was due to 
confusion of ideas, which in its turn was due to inade- 
quate psychological analysis. When Mill says that 
desiring a thing and finding it pleasant are two names for 
the same psychological fact, what does he really mean ? 
The psychological fact that he had in mind probably 
was the fact that every satisfaction of desire is ipso facto 
pleasant and every thwarting of desire is unpleasant. 
This fact will not warrant the statement that, whenever 
we desire, what we desire is the pleasure of having our 
desire satisfied. Sometimes it is a fact that what we 

1 Utilitarianism, cliapter IV. 


want is the pleasure of having our desire satisfied, but 
very often it is not so. In our more primitive desires it 
is rarely so. What we desire is the object that does in 
the outcome satisfy us. We desire food, companions, 
shelter. These objects, because they satisfy us, will 
give pleasure ; but it is the objects that are desired in 
the first instance. We can distinguish cases where the 
motive is objective or outer from cases where it is 
subjective or inner, and this distinction enables us to 
recognize the existence of disinterested motives. The 
motive that induces me to part with my three-year-old 
coat to the carter's wife may be interested : I may 
desire the pleasure of knowing that she will be less likely 
to suffer from cold ; or it may be disinterested : I may 
desire to prevent her suffering cold. Very probably if 
I cross-examined myself fairly I should discover both 
motives influencing my action. 

We must notice that sometimes if pleasure is made an 
end the very possibility of its occurrence is destroyed. 
It is often necessary to be single-hearted in the pursuit 
of an objective end in order to enjoy the pleasure arising 
from satisfaction of desire. In a game a man must 
play to win if he is to enjoy the pleasure of victory. To 
enjoy the satisfaction of a neatly accomplished task we 
must concentrate on the task itself. Whenever doubt 
is cast on the purity of a man's motives, the implication 
made is that interested rather than disinterested motives 
have influenced his action. 


Study of motives leads us to recognize that very 
often they may conflict. The ends by which a man is 
moved cannot both be realized. He must adopt as his 
end this or that. Conflict between objects of desire 
paralyses action for the time being. The conflict can 


only be solved by the dominance of one of the 

(a) Sometimes external events happening during the 
conflict change the relative value of the ends or alter the 
ease or difficulty of the steps which lead to them. Such 
a change may result in the dominance of X over Y. 
Suppose the problem of the individual to be acceptance 
of a better-paid post under a different society or con- 
tinuance in his present work where chances of promotion 
are indefinite. The problem is solved when it is learned 
that one of his seniors is retiring and that thereby pros- 
pects of promotion are improved. The new better-paid 
post is now definitely less attractive than the old one. 

(b) When extraneous events cause no change in 
value the solution lies with the individual. Sometimes 
a change in his emotional mood brings about a change in 
values parallel to that effected by external circum- 
stances. In a strenuous mood X and Y are rival ends ; 
but when the individual relapses into indolence X 
ceases to attract by reason of the difficulties that attach 
to it. ' I gave up the idea it was too difficult to 
manage ', is the statement that may express a change in 
mood and not a reasoned judgment. Ail impatient 
mood yields a solution which removes the action from 
the plane" of deliberate action altogether. The relative 
value of X or Y is not worked out ; the impatience to 
act somehow is too great to allow of deliberation. 
Whichever of these two ends is in the forefront of 
consciousness at the moment when this impatience 
reaches its height, this is the end adopted. If X was 
in consciousness at ' the psychological moment ', X was 
the end realized. The hackneyed phrase, ' the psycho- 
logical moment ', is here used with its true significance. 
Such action is deliberate in appearance only ; it is truly 
impulsive. The drive comes from impatience, not from 
the value of ends X and Y. 


(c) Different from either of the above is Choice after 
Deliberation. The rival ends are compared, the means 
necessary in each case, the consequences following on 
each line of action are all taken into account. Such 
weighing of pros and cons is only possible at the level 
of development where sustained thought is established. 
The rival ends demand analysis ; they need to be 
considered in their various aspects. Any impatient 
urge to action must be inhibited while each is being 
reviewed as an ' end for me '. Shall I or shall I not give 
my name as a support for Mr. A in this election ? The 
candidate Mr. A may appeal to me on many grounds. 
I may have personal sympathy with many of his views 
and a respect for his downrightness. On the other hand, 
I may be able to see in him the strain of fanaticism 
that his opponents fear, and I may foresee the errors 
of policy into which his narrowness of outlook may lead 
him. As a private individual I might support Mr. A 
without much hesitation, but as the representative of a 
Society which prides itself on its broad views I am in 
doubt. The decision when made will be a deliberate 
choice. In this example the two ends involved the 
alternatives of doing something and not doing something. 
This enables us to point out that abstention from action 
may itself be a voluntary act. It should be obvious 
that not doing, or abstention from action, is the realiza- 
tion of an end only when there is a motive. There 
is no choice unless there is a conflict of motives. A 
simple volition such as is expressed by ' I will go to 
town to buy some rose-trees ' is not a choice between 
going to town and not going to town, unless there was 
some motive for the latter course. The mere pos- 
sibility of not acting does not give us a right to say that 
in every volition we choose between acting and not 

The above example of deliberate choice serves to 


illustrate the importance of the ' me ' in choice. The 
ends are weighed as ' ends for me '. The conception of 
the self that is before the person helps to determine his 
decision. The ethical bearing of this we shall consider 
in a later chapter when treating of character. 


We have said that the volition is complete with the 
fiat and the belief that, so far as in us lies, the end shall 
be realized. The actual execution of the movements is 
not part of the volition. Should some outside inter- 
ference prevent the execution, the act of willing would 
none the less be complete. ' Whosoever hateth his 
brother is a murderer ' may have a literal truth, though 
the man lay no hand on his brother. Yet deeds are 
the only criteria we can have of another 's man's volition, 
and to some extent even of our own. Before volition is 
put into execution we may change our decision. The 
actual difficulties of realization may deter us even as 
we are taking the first step towards it. ' There is 
many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip ' applies to the 
execution of our own will as well as to the fulfilment of 
our expectations by others. Persistence in a volition in 
spite of difficulties or enforced delay in execution gives 
a fixity of purpose that is termed firmness or resolution. 
As soon as opportunity offers effect will be given to 
the decision which has been made. The grounds on 
which the decision was reached will only justify adher- 
ence to that decision so long as there is no material 
change in the situation. New evidence, new facts 
affecting the value of the end call for re-deliberation. 
It is no mark of resolution or firmness of will to persist 
in a decision when the situation has changed. Such 
persistence is obstinacy or pig-headedness, and is often 
rooted in the pride of self-love. 


Just as the repetition of any particular action tends 
to make that action into a habit, so the repeated pursuit 
of certain ends tends to facilitate such lines of conduct. 
Habit in its simplest form is seen in the performance of 
some movement which repetition has rendered auto- 
matic. The action is mechanical, carried out with a 
minimum of consciousness. Movements that form the 
basis of many skilled performances are of this type. 
They occur now with the ease of reflexes, but originally 
they had to be learned and were carried out with full 
intention and consciousness. Less mechanical but still 
quasi-automatic are the tricks of speech and mannerisms 
that are characteristic of individuals. They also have 
been acquired but are usually not the outcome of in- 
tentional action. There has been repetition but no 
intentional practice. Imitation or the recurrence of given 
situations has established the action as a habit. The 
daily round of life gives scope for the formation of many 
habits that are less automatic than the above. The 
actions are performed easily in response to given situa- 
tions, although not quite removed from the control and 
guidance of the main current of consciousness. Through 
repetition many impulsive actions become so facilitated 
that the individual is unconscious of any drive in 
carrying them out. To many persons eating and drink- 
ing at a given time is little more than an automatic 
response to the mealtime situation. There is no zest 
of hunger. Similarly, actions which originally were 
carried out with intention are now performed almost 
unreflectingly. Daily ' chores ' are examples of habits 
which are not wholly removed from the guidance of 
intelligence. The action will be checked or modified in 
accordance with the requirements of the moment. 

When we speak of ' habitual lines of conduct ' we 
have something still further removed from the 
mechanical movements of the first category of habit. 


The pursuit of the end is in no sense of the word uncon- 
scious. The particular form which the line of conduct 
takes may vary from occasion to occasion. Its execution 
may always require attentive consciousness. All that 
the term ' habit ' can mean here is facilitation. The 
pros and cons are more easily seen with reference to this 
kind of end ; the difficulties in the means more readily 
recognized. Principles that have been applied before 
in viewing an end in a given perspective can be applied 
again with less hesitation. Thus preference for one end 
over another becomes a matter for little hesitation. 
The whole setting is familiar and thus choice is easy. 
It is in this sense that we can speak of given lines of 
conduct becoming habitual. The late Professor Sully 
suggested the term ' habitude ' for the type of facilitation 
we are here considering. The term is useful and 
distinguishes this effect of repeated decisions from the 
narrower effects of repetition that we call habit. 

The importance of ' habitudes ' will be seen more 
clearly when sentiments and character have been 




WE come back to the ethical questions and ask 
again, ' What is the reference of the moral 
judgment ? ' It may well seem to the 
moralist that (the moral judgment is exclusively con- 
cerned with intentional action involving motives and is 
particularly concerned with acts of choice) He would 
probably be right if action could be split up into water- 
tight compartments. (The very urgency of instinctive 
and impulsive actions appear to put them out of court 
in questions of moral obligation) It may be claimed 
that instinctive actions are part of man's mental con- 
stitution, as much a part of his make-up as the physical 
features of body. It may be said they belong to what 
is, not to what ought or ought not to be, and should 
fall outside the moral judgment. If instinctive and 
impulsive actions could be divorced from intentional 
actions this line of argument would be forceful. Taken 
in themselves they do lie outside the moral judgment, 
but, as we have seen, conduct is all of one piece ; the 
desires of intentional action have their origin in the 
experiences gained through instinctive or impulsive 
behaviour and react on the latter. Further, it is one of 
the functions of intentional action to regulate instinctive 
and impulsive behaviour ; to check this, to reinforce 
that. These modes of action,(thenykannot be entirely 
excluded from the reference of the moral judgment, 
even thouglAwe admit that^the stress falls on intentional 



conduct.) It is difficult on psychological grounds to 
draw a line between simple volition and volition involv- 
ing choice. What is in appearance a simple volition 
may be in reality a preference of ' this ' over ' that '. It 
needs subtle analysis to detect the complexity of 

Whence have accepted intentional conduct as the 
sphere of reference)bi r e have next to ask on what aspect 
of intentional conduct does the moral judgment fall 
(a) Viewed as an agent whose deeds must be considered 
in relation to the society of which he is a member,^ it a 
man's action and its consequences to which the moral 
judgment refers ) Such is the view held by writers 
who stress the application of Ethics to that middle 
region of conduct between law and custom. J. S. Mill 
(1806-1873) and Jeremy Bentham (1748-1842) both 
take this line. Thus Mill writes : ' We do not call 
anything wrong, unless we mean to imply that a person 
ought to be punished in some way or other for doing it ; 
if not by law, by the opinion of his fellow-creatures ; 
if not by opinion, by the reproaches of his own con- 
science/ l In making the act and its consequence the 
centre of reference these writers emphasize primarily 
intended consequences. ' The morality of an act depends 
entirely upon the intention, that is, upon what the 
agent wills to do/ 2 This is the part of intention we 
have called Purpose. They distinguish between the 
foreseen consequences intention and the motive. 
Thus Mill goes on in the passage quoted, ' But the motive, 
that is the feeling that makes him will so to do, when it 
makes no difference to the act, makes none in the 
morality/ As we have already seen, Mill, being a 
psychological hedonist, recognized only pleasure and 
pain as motives, (b) To other writers motive seemed 
everything in conduct. ' The approbation and dis- 

1 J. S. Mill, Utilitarianism, chapter V. * Ibid., chapter II. 


approbation we feel towards human actions is directed 
upon them as personal phenomena. . . . Their moral 
character goes forward with them out of the person, 
and is not reflected back upon them from their effects. 
Benefit and mischief are in themselves wholly character- 
less, and we neither applaud the gold mine, nor blame 
the destructive storm. . . . What we judge is always 
the inner spring of an action as distinguished from its 
outward operation/ l ' Virtue does not consist barely 
in acting, but in acting upon such motives and to such 
ends/ 2 (c) Others again regard moral judgment as 
directed to character. * Any act of will is the expression 
of the man as he at the time is/ ' The actions which 
ought to be done . . . are actions expressive of a good 
will, in the sense that they represent a character of 
which the dominant interest is in conduct contributory 
to the perfection of mankind. . . . We cannot say with 
complete truth of any action . . . that it has been what 
it ought to have been, unless it represents such a 
character/ 3 ' The moral law . . . has to be expressed 
in the form, " Be this ", not in the form, " Do this ".' 4 
Just as we said it is impossible to carve out from the 
whole of life intentional conduct and set it in isolation 
as a theme for moral judgment, so here again we regard 
it as bad psychology to attempt to separate the deed 
from the doer or again to divide motive from intention. 
It is still worse to treat either apart from character. 
(he moral judgment cannot fall exclusively on any one 
of these aspects of conduit. We may consider a con- 
crete case to illustrate^he interdependence of intention, 
consequences, motive^, and character in the reference 
of the moral judgment^ Let us suppose a nurse to give 

1 Martineau, Types of Ethical Theory, vol. II, book I, chapter I, 
p. 22. 

8 Butler, Correspondence with Clarke, Letter VII. 

8 T. H. Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, pp. 179 and 359. 

4 Leslie Stephen, Science of Ethics, chapter IV, 16, p. 155. 


a patient a wrong drug in error and the patient's con- 
dition to be rendered very critical as a consequence, If 
moral judgment falls simply rm thq fleed and its 
consequences, the judgment must be that the act is 
wrong and i^merits condemnation. On Mill's view the 
act merits punishment. Looked at from theDgicJ^of 
view of intention only, however, the act is* Blameless. 
What was done was not what was intended. The nurse 
intended to give a dose from bottle A. She in fact gave 
one from B. Looked at from the. 

motive the act is blameless. The nurse's aim in acting 
was to forward the ^patient's cure, or to carry out 
orders. The consequences were unforeseen, they were 
not intended and there was no evil motive. Is there 
then nothing blameworthy in the agent ? We may 
approach an answer by looking at a case where the 
consequences are not the direct outcome of the agent's 
action. Suppose at a party one guest offered a chair to 
another and that this chair collapsed, the person in 
consequence breaking a leg. The collapse of the chair 
is not the agent's action in the sense in which the 
preparation of the wrong dose is the nurse's action. It 
is a consequence for which the person had no responsi- 
bility. It is not the function of^a guest to test the 
chairs provided by his hostess, yhe nurse's responsi- 
bility, however, cannot be ignored. It is her office to 
give the ordered dose and she is blameworthy not for 
intention or motive but for a quality of Character 
revealed in the execution of her officej (he was in 
some measure careless.) It may be that this quality is 
not one which is ' characteristic ' of her in general. It 
may be exceptional, its presence may be capable of 
explanation on this occasion. It may be due to fatigue, 
or preoccupation with a personal anxiety, but whatever 
the explanation it is a blameworthy trait of character in 
relation to responsibility, and as on this occasion it 


influenced the carrying out of her motive it is regarded 
as a quality belonging to her. The situation would be 
different if a rigorous self-examination revealed as 
motive, not only the general end, execution of doctor's 
orders, or the patient's well-being, but some particular 
immediate end, e.g. to get through the duties as quickly 
as possible with a view to keeping a social engagement. 
The motive behind the performance of the nurse's work 
is now judged blameworthy. It will also be judged in 
its relation to character. It is or is not ' characteristic ' 
of the person to put outside interests before her work. 
(it is customary to distinguish between actions that 
are objectively right and those that are subjectively right. 
An action is objectively right when motive and intention 
are right and all reasonable precautions are taken to 
carry the intended action into effect. An action is 
subjectively right when though the motive and intention 
are right, all reasonable care is not taken to secure the 
fulfilment of the intention. 1 The nurse's action in the 
case supposed is subjectively right, but not objectively 
right. ' Reasonable care ' is a qualification that 
involves traits of character, and the distinction between 
1 subjectively right ' and ' objectively right ' disappears 
if the reference of the moral judgment includes the 
character of the agent. We conclude then, that con- 
duct cannot be satisfactorily partitioned off into sections, 
consequences, intentions, motives, character, and that 
the moral judgment refers to the whole of the personal 
side of conduct. 


We have to turn to a bigger problem, ' What does the 
moral judgment mean ? ' What does ' That is right ', 
'That ought to be done', 'That is good', state? 
1 Materially right describes an effect judged apart from agent 


As a preliminary let us say that there are many judg- 
ments in which the terms ' ought * or ' right ' occur 
that are not moral judgments at all. We often use 
these terms with reference to impersonal events with 
no moral significance whatever. ' It ought to be 
fine to-morrow with such a high barometer.' ' Ought ' 
here merely states an expectation that is reasonable in 
view of the conditions ; a certain sequence of events 
may be reasonably expected ' This timber ought not 
to shrink, it is well seasoned/ Again, the 'ought' 
indicates reasonable expectation. It often has this 
meaning even when human action is under considera- 
tion ' You ought to be able to do that correctly after 
a few lessons.' Here as before there is no moral 
obligation. ' Ought ' expresses a probable or expected 
sequence of events. The word ' right ' is also used with 
no direct reference to conduct. It is used to express 
suitability or fitness for given uses ' That colour 
is not right.' It is also used to indicate correctness or 
incorrectness with reference to some standard. ' The 
answer to the sum is not right. 1 ' The perspective in 
the drawing is not right.' This reference to a standard 
does bring these judgments nearer to normative judg- 
ments, but the standard in question is not a moral one. 
We must, recognize, therefore, that many judgments 
containing the words ' right ' or ' ought ' are not moral 
judgments at all. 

The easiest method of arriving at the meaning of the 
moral judgment is by eliminating the specious meanings 
that might be thought to belong to it, and which indeed 
have been thought to belong to it, but which fail to give 
its essential characteristics! 

(a) The moral judgment does not merely express the 
individual's approval or liking (with corresponding 
disapproval or dislike) for the conduct which he pro- 
nounces ' ought to be ', ' is right ', * is good ' ; or ' ought 


not to be ', ' is not right ', ' is not good '. (.X's judgment, 
' White slave traffic ought to be abolished ', is not merely 
a statement of X's dislike of the traffic, his feeling of 
disapproval) * y lf it were it would be of the same order 
as his pronouncement that he liked ice creams, or disliked 
stiff collars. It would be the expression o(an emotional 
attitude towards a situation7)and nothing more. Every- 
one will probably agree that the (moral judgment does 
express more than the emotional attitude of an individual 
One would not labour the point but for the fact that the 
words {Moral approbation^Larevery often used as a 
synonym for moral judgment first becaui&(n emotional 
attitude approving or disapproving conduct is) the 
normal accompaniment of moral judgment. It is this 
that leads us into mistaking moral approbation for moral 
judgment. As soon as an individual has reached fixed 
principles of conduct, recognized certain virtues and 
vices, he will also have built up moral sentiments, love 
of truth, of fair play, hatred of cruelty, and so on. When 
the conduct on which moral judgment is pronounced 
involves these sentiments an emotional attitude is 
necessarily aroused ; e.g the judgment, ' A man ought 
to be ashamed of deceiving a simple old woman ', 
probably expresses indignation as well as a judgment 
that the conduct referred to ought not to be. We shall 
recognize this relation of moral sentiments and moral 
judgment in Chapter IV. The second reason why 
subjective approbation and moral judgment are likely 
to be confusecys the use of certain proverbial expressions : 
' It takes all sorts to make a world ', ' What is one man's 
meat is another man's poison ', ' It is all a matter of 
taste'. These expressions all agree in stressing the 
' subjectivity ' of opinion. By ' subjectivity ' is meant 
dependence on the particular ideas of the individual 
thinker. When such proverbs are understood (wrongly) 
as expressive of the subjectivity of the moral judgment, 


the true nature of the moral judgment becomes mis- 
understood. Emotional attitudes vary from person to 
person. (AVhat is disgusting to one person is of scientific 
interest to another. What irritates one man may not 
disturb the serenity of another.) (Variation in emotionaj 
attitudes is mistaken for variation in moral judgment 
The word ' taste ' in the expression, ' Is it not all a 
matter of taste ? ' is a pitfall, because it includes a 
covert reference to judgment as well as to emotional 
attitude. In such phrases as ' Canons of good taste ', 
' A man of taste ', there is a reference to a standard to 
something objective beyond the individual's own private 
likes and dislikes. > 

(b) Supposing it to be clear that the moral judgment 
does not mean the approval or disapproval of the one 
pronouncing the judgment, may we substitute for the 
individual society at large, the civilized world ? Such a 
view will at least free us from the subjectivity of the 
previous doctrine. When X judges, ' This ought to be ', 
' This is right ', ' This is good ' is he meaning that people 
in general will approve it ? If this is the true meaning 
of the moral judgment, there is no real difference between 
the judgment, ' Society ought to approve of this ' and 
' Society does approve of this '. Now, doubtless, in 
civilized communities where standards of conduct are 
fairly high a moral judgment will carry with it the 
implication that society does approve or does disapprove 
of this or that line of conduct, just as we have seen it 
carries the implication that the individual has an 
emotional attitude of approval or disapproval. But is 
this really the fundamental meaning or import ? If it 
is, Ethics has no justification as an independent branch 
of learning. Moral judgments are records of historical 
fact. It will be for the anthropologist and sociologist 
to join hands with the historian and trace out how these 
universally approved lines of action have arisen ; how 


it is that men have come to condemn head-hunting, 
infanticide, and so on. Ethics should be replaced by a 
history of civilization. Clearly there is the greatest 
possible need for such a history ; but when it is compiled, 
when anthropology, sociology and history have said their 
say, the real ethical problem would still remain. We 
could still ask whether one custom was worse than 
another, why one ought to have disappeared and another 
to have spread, and such questions would not be non- 
sense. If this is so /the essential meaning of the moral 
judgment is not universal opinion or the agreed attitude 
of the civilized world.) Let us acknowledge at once that 
in many cases this is all that is in our minds at the 
moment of pronouncing a moral judgment. Behind this 
temporary or superficial meaning, however, our reason 
recognizes a more fundamental one. 

(c) The two previous discussions will have paved the 
way for the discussion of the third meaning attributed to 
the moral judgment. (The moral judgmenOas we have 
seen,us not necessarily) nor even normally, in conflict 
with(|he approval of the individualfcr)with(the approval 
of civilized opinion.) Similarly, there need be no conflict 
between the moral judgment and the commands and 
prohibitions of a particular religious creed. None the less 
the moral judgment, ' This ought to be ', or ' This is 
good ' , does not mean ' This is in accordance with such-and- 
such a creed '. Some one may say, ' For a Buddhist, or 
for a Christian, it does mean this is in accordance with 
my creed. ' For the believer his creed enjoins or prohibits 
such-and-such conduct, and this is what the moral 
judgment expresses. This is true, and yet such a 
doctrine does not bring out the full meaning of the moral 
judgment. We may try to show where the difference 
lies by approaching the question from another angle. 
We recognize that religion is not first and foremost a rule 
of life. The most essential fact in religion is worship. 


There is belief in the existence of some God or Gods, and 
there is the approach of man to God with attendant rites 
and ceremonies. A rule of life, things enjoined and 
things forbidden, gathers round the worship. The great 
religions of the world stand out by reason of the rule of 
life which each of them possesses. Now let us ask this 
question : Can we compare these rules of life and declare 
one better than the other ? If we do, what is the meaning 
of such comparison ? The Christian may claim that the 
rule of life enjoined by Christianity is higher than the rule 
of life laid down by Mohammedanism. If challenged as 
to why he makes this claim he cannot simply fall back on 
the answer, ' Because it is Christian/ Such an answer 
takes us nowhere. Or, again, supposing we claim that 
we have a higher conception now of the meaning of the 
commands and prohibitions laid down by Christianity 
than the mass of mankind had in the thirteenth century. 
What do we mean ? What is our standard of a higher 
conception ? Again we cannot answer ' Christianity ' 
It is Christianity we are judging in two of its realizations. 
Such considerations will lead us to recognize that there 
are ethical principles behind the rule of life enjoined by a 
religion, and it is by these very principles that the rule 
of life itself is judged. 

Ethical principles are, then, more fundamental than 
the particular commands and prohibitions of a creed, 
and when we pronounce the moral judgment 'That 
ought to be done ', ' That is good ' we are not stating 
that the conduct in question is in accordance with the 
rules of life laid down by a creed. Here, as in the last 
case, we must add that very often we do mean no more 
than this, but we recognize that behind this meaning 
there is another which is truer and broader. 

(d) The last meaning which we can rule out as non- 
essential does not offer any great difficulty . ' This ought 
to be done ', ' This is good ' does not mean ' This is 


expedient '. When we refer to ' the expedient ' we 
always have the consequences of an action in view. We 
have seen that there are ethical writers who hold that 
the primary reference of a moral judgment is to the deed 
as intended, and such writers must, of course, if con- 
sistent, hold that the moral judgment is a declaration 
about the act and its intended consequences. If, 
however, we use this fact as a justification for the claim 
that ([the true meaning of the moral judgment i? a 
declaration that the consequences are expedient or at 
least harmless, we shall have fallen into a confusion of 
ideas : we shall have confused a dependent predication 
about intended consequences with the moral judgment 
whereon such a predication depends. We can put it 
another way. Conduct is expedient if it leads towards a 
state of affairs which is viewed as an end, or, negatively, 
it is harmless if it does not hinder that end. But of the end 
itself we shall want to know whether 'it ought, or ought 
not,, to be '. The significance of the moral judgment as 
a pronouncement on means to ends is derived from its 
significance as a pronouncement on ends. We cannot 
therefore regard ' expediency ' or ' freedom from harm ' as 
the true analysis of the meaning of the moral judgment. 
Having cleared away interpretations which do not 
give the essential meaning of the moral judgment, we 
must attempt a constructive analysis. We have given 
the moral judgment in three forms without attempting 
any explanation of the variation/^'These three forms 
serve to bring out different aspects of the meaning of the 
moral judgment. ' This ought to be done ', with its 
corresponding negative, presents the moral judgment as 
an imperative, a command or prohibition addressed to 
the individual. Its outstanding characteristic is authori- 
tativeness. The second form, ' It is right ', asserts that 
the conduct in question satisfies some pattern or require- 
ment. A third form attributes a quality to the conduct, 


' It is good '. In the first form the claim on the individual 
or doer is explicit. His desire or willingness receives no 
recognition. In the second form there is implicit 
reference to the justification of the conduct. In the 
third form an appeal to the will of the individual is 

The first authoritative form also expresses the 
ultimateness of the moral judgment. The command or 
prohibition leaves no opening for conditions. It is not 
' This ought to be done if you wish to attain such and 
such a result '. The philosopher who emphasized this 
feature of the moral judgment was Immanuel Kant 
(1724-1804). He distinguished between hypothetical 
imperatives and the categorical imperative. The former 
are commands or prohibitions which only hold good if 
some end or goal is accepted, e.g. ' A man ought to study 
mathematics if he wishes to become an engineer.' If a 
man does not wish to become an engineer but a farmer, 
the study of mathematics is not imperative. The 
categorical imperative holds without conditions. The 
' ought ' is ultimate. ' It concerns not the matter of 
the action, or its intended result, but its form and 
the principle of which it is itself a result.' l 

The same ultimate character is brought out by the 
third form, ' This is good/ There is no wider class to 
which we can refer ' good ' in order to bring out its 
meaning. This is sometimes expressed by describing 
moral good as ' intrinsic good '. The force of the term 
lies in its opposition to ' extrinsic '. An extrinsic good 
owes some of its value at least to another object. A tool 
may be good as a tool for a special purpose ; an act may 
be good as a means . It is ' good for ' rather than ' good ' . 
The opposition, however, is not fundamental. In one 
sense all value is ' value for '. We shall take up this 
point in the next chapter. 
1 Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, p. 39. 


When the second form of moral judgment is used the 
ultimate character of the judgment is thrown back a 
step ; a pattern or a standard is suggested as justification 
of Tightness. We shall see in the next chapter that the 
pattern or standard required in conduct must itself have 
authority ; it must be ultimate. The first and second 
forms of moral judgment are closely related. 

We have rejected a subjective meaning^for the moral 
judgment, (jit is objective and universal, fin terming the 
moral judgment objective and universal we are claiming 
that it is not relative to the individual who pronounces it. 
It is a judgment that is valid for all thinkers.^ ' h cannot, 
without error, be disapproved by any other mind.'J /Lt is, 
however, relative to the situation judged.) It is iffcpor- 
tant to be clear about this. We have seen that .the 
primary reference of the moral judgment is to intentional 
conduct. ' This ought to be ' or ' This is good ' applies 
to a concrete situation, and it relates to all the conditions 
of that situation. It is just these concrete conditions 
that make the moral judgment in a certain sense relative. 
' It is abundantly clear that the morality of one time is 
not that of another, that the men considered good in 
one age might in another age not be thought good, and 
what would be right for us here might be mean and base 
in another country, and what would be wrong for us here 
might there be our bounden duty/ y We shall have to 
refer to the relativity of moral judgments in this sense 
when we discuss duties and practical problems. We 
may perhaps bring out the relativity of the moral judg- 
ment by considering the statement, ' This is right for 
A but wrong for B.' In what sense is this true and in 
what sense would it be entirely false as a moral judgment ? 
It is true if it means : the situation so far as A is con- 
cerned with it is morally right ; the situation so far as 

1 Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics, book I, chapter III. 

2 Bradley, Ethical Studies, second ed., p. 189. 


B is concerned with it is morally wrong. It is a false 
moral judgment if it is interpreted as meaning : it is 
possible for one and the same situation to be judged 
correctly by A as morally right and by B as morally 
wrong. The moral judgment cannot vary with the 
one pronouncing it. If A's moral judgment is the true 
one, it will hold for B as much as for A. 
f The meaning of the moral judgment is authoritative, 
ultimate, objective, and universal! 



WE have considered the reference of the moral 
judgment and the import or meaning of the 
moral judgment. We now come to the ques- 
tion how is the 'ought', the 'good', the 'right' 
determined ? Let us be clear what it is we are asking. 
We are not asking how do I know on some particular 
occasion of some particular act whether I ought or 
ought not to perform it, whether the act is ' right ' or 
' good '. Such questions are asked when we strive to 
apply ethical principles. We are here concerned with 
the principles themselves; practical problems will 
concern us later. Our present question is an ontological 
one concerning the reality which gives the moral judg- 
ment the characteristics we have claimed for it. 


We have called attention to the different forms in 
which the moral judgment is expressed. The first form 
' ought ', and also the second form ' right ', give the 
moral judgment the character of a law. ( Moral judg- 
ments are moral laws] This mode of stating ethical 
principles common among all Western peoples is due to 
two facts : (i) The Christian rule of life, Christian Ethics, 
is built on Hebrew Ethics. The law of Christ was 
constructed on the basis of the law of Moses. The 
Hebraic conception of ' the law ' and a Divine Lawgiver 
has moulded the ethical thought of all European nations 
possessing the Bible. It has given moral law its place as 



something lying behind the law of States. (2) Secondly, 
in the West civilization spread from Rome. Law rather 
than culture was the great gift which Rome gave to the 
countries she conquered. Roman law and jurisprudence 
influenced the orderly relations of man to man in all the 
communities that acknowledged her authority. This, 
then, was another factor serving to make the conception 
of law the leading one in any reflections on conduct. 
Thus the determination of the moral judgment has 
figured in the history of moral philosophy as a search 
for the source of law. 

(a) A Divine Being. It may be claimed that the 
source of all law is a Divine Being and that moral laws 
are the prescriptions of a Divine Willy that these laws 
have been revealed to man through Higprophets, through 
sacred writings. Bound up with the conception of a 
Divine Lawgiver, whose ordinances govern the world and 
the life of man, is the conception of sin as a breach of 
the law. Such breaches of law demand atonement, 
sacrifices. We cannot do more than touch on these 
points, but it is easy to realize how far-reaching has been 
the influence of Hebraic teaching the teaching of the 
old dispensation in fashioning our thought on moral 

We have already in the previous chapter touched upon 
what is the root difficulty in this conception of a code 
of Divine Law, viz. that it does not serve to explain how 
we are able to apply our moral judgment to the laws 
themselves. We may notice further that for an onto- 
logical account of the reality of the moral judgment some 
independent justification or proof of the existence of 
God is necessary/ 

(V) Nafure. /A source of law has been sought in 
Nature/ Natural law has been used as the basis for 
moral law and for law in the narrow sense of legal 
enactments. Morality as 'life in accordance with 


nature ' is a cry that has been raised more than once 
in the history of philosophy. The great Stoic School 
(founder, Zeno, 340 B.C.) taught that men should strive 
after wisdom. They should study the order of things in 
the universe and from this derive their practical ethics. 
As the Stoics interpreted it Nature was a manifestation 
of a Divine orderliness ; thus in principle this ontology 
does not differ from the foregoing. 

(the modern school of Evolutionary Ethics also takes 
Nature as its ontological basis\ Writers at the latter 
part of the nineteenth centurylSelieved that by tracing 
the course followed by evolution the pattern of life 
towards which man was tending could be descried. It 
was in accordance with this pattern that man should 
regulate his conduct. Thus Herbert Spencer (1820- 
1903) writes : ' Life is a continuous adjustment of 
internal relations to external relations/ x ' Acts are 
good or bad according as they are well or ill adjusted to 
ends. . . . Evolution tending ever towards self-preserva- 
tion, reaches its limit when individual life is greatest, 
both in length and breadth ; and now we see that leaving 
other ends aside, we regard as good the conduct furthering 
self-preservation, and as bad the conduct tending to 
self-destruction/ 2 We have already by anticipation 
criticized this school of Ethics. /Natural laws may, 
determine what has been and may forecast what will be 
the development of human beings, but it cannot deter- 
mine the ' ought to be '. When Spencer comes to a 
discussion of what constitutes fullness of life ' both in 
length and breadth ', he has to examine not only adapta- 
tion to ends but also the relative value of the ends 
themselves. For this Devaluation of ends evolution 
furnishes no guidance. \Life at its 'greatest' is not 
interpreted in terms of tjuantity ; it implies qualitative 
differences. It is life at its ' highest '. Spencer conceives 

1 Spencer, Data of Ethics, p. 19. 2 H>id., P- *5- 


of a perfect life, wherein there would be perfect 
adjustment of internal relations to external relations. 
The perfect life for an individual demands a perfect 
social environment. This is an ideal which the actual 
condition of man and society is far from approaching. 
But whence is derived the conception of such an ideal ? 
Not from natural law. Adjustment of relations when 
used to measure progress presupposes moral standards. 
Is not ' divine discontent ' to be rated higher than dull 
apathy ? Yet the latter shows more ' adjustment ' to 
external relations than the former. Spencer himself 
offers us, as criterion of adjustment, pleasure and pain : 
' Pain is the correlative of some species of wrong some 
divergence from that course of action which perfectly 
fulfils all requirements. . . . The conception of good 
conduct always proves, when analysed, to be the con- 
ception of a conduct which produces a surplus of pleasure 
somewhere/ 1 In so far as pleasure and pain are made 
the criteria for moral value the determination of the 
moral judgment is not being sought in natural law but 
in a good. Spencer's theory has much in common with 

In many of the ethical systems which preach life 
Drding to nature we find a confusion of two very 
different beliefs : (i) a belief in a Golden Age wherein 
man lived in a state of nature unfettered by the control 
of rulers and political laws, (ii) a belief that man's 
relations to his fellow-men are governed by laws com- 
parable to the laws which govern the physical universe and 
that these laws are l^ws of his being qua rational creature. 
(c) The Self, (i) (Closely allied to the view of naturSl 
law is a view of the self as the ultimate source of law. 
The highest part of man's nature is the rational. In 
virtue of his reason the individual participates in 
Universal Reason, and it is Reason which prescribes 
1 Spencer, Data of Ethics, p. 261. 


the moral law. This is Kant's teaching. Practical 
Reason is the source of the Categorical Imperative, 
' Rational beings alone have the facility of acting 
according to the conception of laws, that is, according 
to principles, i.e. have a will. 1 In framing a moral 
judgment the individual does not judge as the individual 
A or B, but judges in virtue of that Reason which is 
Universal. Thus the moral judgment can have no 
reference to the particular character of a given situation, 
as it is for A or for B, but views the action as it is for 
Reason. )Kant tells us, ' Act as if the maxim of thy 
action were to become by thy will a Universal Law of 
Nature '. One of Kant's own examples will show the 
force of this imperative. A man in necessity borrows 
money, promising to repay it. He knows that he cannot 
keep this promise. He could not will that the principle 
that he is following, making a false promise when in a 
difficulty, should become a universal law. It would 
contradict itself. No one would believe in promises 
if all men made false promises just when they were 
in difficulties. The man has not obeyed the categorical 
imperative. By this criterion of Universal Law we can 
see that the moral judgment will not only be, as we have 
said, objective and universal, but it will also be 
' absolute '. It will not be relative to the nature of the 
concrete situation. /Under no conceivable circumstances 
can duties vary or the ' ought to be ' change. This view 
of the moral judgment renders it abstract, and has laid 
Kant's ethics open to the charge of formalism. Duties 
become formal schemata of conduct out of touch with 
the everyday life of the individual. None the less, as 
emphasizing the objectivity and universality of the 
moral judgment, Kant's doctrine brings out a funda- 
mental truth. It separates moral judgments from any 
form of the judgments of expediency^ 

1 Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals. 


(2Jk A very different view of moral law was taken by 
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) . In The Leviathan, Hobbes 
shows us man by nature seeking his own preservation, 
his own pleasure. Every action is directed to the 
heightening of vital action, which is pleasure. Egoism 
or self-interest is thus the supreme principle of conduct. 
For Hobbes a state of nature is not a Golden Age but 
state of war ; every man for himself. Duties towards 
other men have no foundation in man's nature. They 
can only exist and can only be reasonable when there is 
an authority to enforce rules for the common benefit. 
Man's fear of death and desire for commodious living will 
drive him to seek peace and ensue it. His reason will 
suggest articles of peace and covenants, and thence will 
arise the ordinary ethics of society, an ethics based on 
law in the narrower sense., ^Hobbes does, however, 
recognize in man's nature a source of obligation. Man 
has the duty of self-preservation. He ought to take 
every step he can to defend his life."]; It is this funda- 
mental law which drives him t6' make contracts. 
Hobbes leaves side by side and unreconciled the obliga- 
tions which rest on man's nature and those obligations 
which he regards as having existence only when there is 
an authority to enforce them. 

(3) In Joseph Butler (1692-1752) we have yet another 
view <ef man's nature as the source of moral lawi This 
view is set forth in a series of sermons entitled Human 
Nature. Virtue consists in following nature. Butler 
sees in human nature the capacities and possibilities 
which the Creator of man intended to be realized. 
' There is therefore ground for an attempt of showing 
men to themselves, of showing them what course of life 
and behaviour their real nature points out and would 
lead them to/ Preaching from the text, ' For when the 
Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things 
contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a 


law unto themselves ' (Romans ii. 14), he analyses in a 
psychological manner man's nature in order to show 
how by nature we are a law unto ourselves. The supre- 
macy of a reflective principle conscience is established. 
1 Had it strength, as it had right ; had it power, as it 
had manifest authority, it would absolutely govern the 
world ' (Sermon II). One may say that the obligation 
to give it strength and power, in other words, to fulfil 
the Divine intentions of our Creator, rests upon belief 
in Divine Law, 'and that therefore this justification of 
moral law woid fall more properly under our first 


tyhen we turn to the other formulation of the moral 
judgment, ' This is good ', we find a different line of 
determination. Morality is not conceived as the fulfil- 
ment of law but as the realization of an end) Life is a 
quest for the highest good. /Duties and virtues will follow 
from a determination of the highest good or end for 
man.N This point of view whereby the practice of the 
good life becomes an art contrasts sharply with the view 
of the moral life as the fulfilment of obligations. It is 
the view which comes to us from our heritage of Greek 
culture. We said that Christian Ethics were built on 
the foundations of the Hebraic conception of the law 
of Moses. We must add that Christian Ethics have 
also been influenced by Greek philosophy. The Christian 
life can be portrayed as the quest of an end just as 
readily as it can be shown as the fulfilment of a law. 
St. Paul's epistle to the Galatians manifests to us this 
recasting of the ethics of law into the ethics of end. 
(Two great ethical systems have been dominated by 
the conception of an end, the Ethics of Hedonism and 
the Ethics of Self -Realization. \ 
(a) Hedonism regards happiness as the highest good 


for man. Universal Hedonism (more often called Utili- 
tarianism) sets forth the greatest happiness of the 
greatest number as the aim of the moral life. Egoistic 
Hedonism takes as the end the greatest happiness of the 
individual.; Both alike identify happiness with pleasure 
and thus "make the quest of pleasure and avoidance of 
pain the basis of all man's duties. Egoistic Hedonism 
takes the whole of man's life into account and holds 
it to be obligatory for a man to seek his greatest pleasure 
on the whole. It based its theory of the highest good 
on what it regarded as a psychological fact, viz. that a 
man in acting sought his own pleasure and that this 
was the sole motive of action, the doctrine of ' Psycho- 
logical Hedonism '. We have already seen that the 
actual psychological fact which gives plausibility to 
this doctrine is not that man always seeks pleasure, 
but that whenever he achieves an end he experiences 
satisfaction and is ipso facto pleased. But this pleasure 
of satisfaction is not necessarily the end aimed at. Men 
aim at many ends besides pleasure. So-called ' Psycho- 
logical Hedonism ' will not serve then, as justification 
for Egoistic Hedonism, still less for Universal Hedonism. 
Even if it were true, it is difficult to understand how a 
law of our being which required us to seek pleasure could 
be used as a foundation for an ethics that taught that 
the end to be aimed at in conduct was our greatest 
pleasure on the whole, taking all parts of our life into 
accountX If we seek pleasure in every action how come 
we to sacrifice the pleasure of the moment in order to 
gain a greater pleasure later. That we should ever 
sacrifice our own pleasure in order to seek the greatest 
pleasure of the greatest number, as Universal Hedonism 
requires, seems even more against the supposed psycho- 
logical doctrine. Writers made great use of trans- 
ference of pleasure and association of ideas in their 
efforts to explain ' disinterested ' actions. And, as a 


matter of fact, both systems were driven to seek some 
other ground whereon to establish pleasure as the 
highest good for man. Professor Sidgwick (1838-1899) 
stands out among Utilitarians by his explicit recognition 
that the fundamental truths on which Hedonism Crests 
are intuitive beliefs. These beliefs are . a belief ' that 
whatever action any one of us judges right for himself, 
he implicitly judges to be right for all other persons in 
similar circumstances ' ; a belief ' that the Hereafter 
as such is to be regarded neither less nor more than 
Now ' ; a belief that ' the good of any one individual is 
of no more importance, from the point of view of the 
universe, than the good of any other ' ; lastly, a belief 
that ' its conduciveness, in one way or another, to the 
happiness of sentient beings ' is the ultimate test we 
apply to anything we term ' good '. l These beliefs are 
' intuitive or direct '. They cannot be demonstrated. 
The utmost that can be done is to confirm them by 
comparing deductions from them with the common-sense 
judgments of men. This comparison Sidgwick carries 
out. He shows further that the duties and virtues 
which follow from Universal Hedonism are such as are 
generally recognized in the higher forms of society. 

There is something clear-cut in the ethics of Utilitari- 
anism which has given it a great hold on men. We 
have seen the stress laid by the Utilitarian writers, 
J Bentham and J. S. Mill on the intended consequences 
of action. To the lay mind it appears simple to test 
the intended consequences of an action by the question, 
' Do they or do they not promote the greatest pleasure 
of the greatest number ? ' As a method, such an 
Ethical System seems to provide a practicable rule. 
Historically it is the system that has been behind many 
movements of social and political reform. To the early 

i Cf Sidgwick. Methods of Ethics, book III, chapters XIII 
and XIV. 


Utilitarians, since pain is a deterrent motive, the aim 
of punishment was prevention of crime. It should be 
adequate for this purpose but not greater than is required 
for the good of the community. For the criminal 
punishment should also be reformatory, preventing 
further crime. Penal reform is one of the most con- 
spicuous results of Jeremy Bentham's teaching. The 
greatest good of the greatest number furnished a watch- 
word against monopolies and special privileges, and a 
war cry for reform in education and the Poor Law. 

Criticism of Hedonism is not directed to the positive 
content of duties and virtues which follow from its 
adoption, but to its claim that happiness, interpreted as 
pleasure, is the sole good for man. This claim is 
challenged. * 

(b) Self -Realization. /Some writers seek * the highest 
good ' for man in a State of his own being, his own 
perfection . The end for man is viewed as self-realization . 
The complement of such a view is a metaphysical theory 
of the nature of the self. Such a metaphysical theory 
was offered by Professor T. H. Green (1836-1882). 
Every individual is, for Green, the vehicle for a principle 
of Divine consciousness// His life story is the story of 
the extent to which he lias realized in his intellect and 
in his" character this spiritual self. ' Given this con- 
ception, and not without it, we can at any rate express 
... the nature of man's reason and man's will, of 
human progress and human short -coming, of effort after 
good and the failure to gain it/ 1 Whenever man 
desires an end, this end is determined by his character, 
and hence by the spiritual principle so far as realized 
therein. Every act of will may thus be regarded as an 
act of self-realization. (The moral of life is one of 
progressive development/ The more the spiritual self is 
realized the higher become the ends in which it finds 
1 Prolegomena to Ethics, 174. 


satisfaction/ ' We know enough of ultimate moral good 
to guide our conduct ; enough to judge whether pre- 
vailing interests which make our character are or are 
not in the direction which tends to realize the capabilities 
of the human spirit/ 1 No individual could develop his 
spiritual capacities if his progress involved the hindrance 
of the spiritual principle in others. The good for man 
must be a common good. It consists not in material 
goods but in ' a state of mind or character of which the 
attainment ... by each is a contribution to its 
attainment by evejy one else/ 2 ' The only true good 
is to be good/ 3 *Green would accept Kant's dictum 
' nothing can possilWy be conceived in the world or out 
of it, which can be called good without qualification, 
except a Good Will '. There is a close relation between 
the doctrine of self-realization as the end for man and the 
doctrine of Practical Reason as the source of moral law) 
Of the two lines of determination that which looks to 
end is the more fundamental. If the authority of law is 
derived from an extrinsic source, e.g. God, an inde- 
pendent justification of this source and of its power over 
human beings is required. If the source of law is sought 
in Nature the generalizations deduced therefrom may 
be scientific but are not normative. } Writers who, like 
Kant, seek the source of law in Reason presuppose an 
end. The categorical imperative is authoritative because 
it is the command of Reason as Will, namely of the Will 
that ' can be called good without qualification '. Man 
in virtue of the exercise of this Will is himself an end. 
Kant expresses this in one of the alternative forms in 
which he writes the categorical imperative : ' So act as 
to treat humanity, whether in thine own person or in 
that of any other, in every case as an end withal, never 
as a means only/ 

The psychology of conduct leads us to regard all 
1 Prolegomena to Ethics, 172. Ibid., 245. Ibid., 244. 


conduct as the realization of ends. The authority of 
the end is derived from its value. We have seen Kant's 
distinction between Categorical and Hypothetical 
Imperatives. For the force of an imperative to be 
categorical the end on which the imperative rests must 
be one whose acceptance leaves no room for a hypothesis ; 
it must be one which cannot be rejected. Practical 
Reason for Kant had such a value. In Chapter II value 
has been treated as ' objective ', i.e. as in situations, but 
we said that situations only possess value in relation to 
individuals. They only possess value in so far as they 
are such as will awaken affective or conative experience. 
From this it will follow that we cannot seek value in 
situations or objects per se. Thus if we say an object 
is beautiful, has aesthetic value, we mean that the 
object has the character of objects which give rise to 
aesthetic enjoyment. Apart from its suitability to 
give rise to aesthetic enjoyment the object would not 
possess aesthetic value. The value of ends must be 
considered in relation to the self that realizes them. 

We must look to the conception of ' self ' and ' person ' 
to furnish an indication of the highest ends for man, i.e. 
to furnish a scheme of ' goods '. Of a moral Self we may 
claim that the ends it accepts will not rest on private 
circumstances which would render them inacceptible 
to any other self in similar circumstances. As rational 
it will be influenced by value that arises not from a 
particular situation but from a system of situations. 
A moral Self will stand in social relations to others, and 
its well-being will be bound up with the well-being of 
others. For the delineation of a moral Self we accept 
Sidgwick's three intuitive beliefs which he termed the 
principles of justice, prudence and benevolence respec- 
tively (quoted p. 59)- These furnish a foundation for a 
classification of duties and virtues, and may be compared 
with Plato's classification given later. We cannot, 


however, accept as intuitive Sidgwick's fourth belief 
which makes pleasure the ultimate test for the value of 
ends. This test obliterates the relation of value to the 
character of the Self. Beauty, Truth, Pleasure, Moral 
Excellence are cited as ' dominant goods ' by writers 
whose view of value differs from that given above. 
Such goods may be taken here as expressive of the 
directions in which a moral Self will find value. It is 
from such ends that arise the specific imperatives of the 
moral judgment. 


< The two forms in which the moral judgment is 
expressed find their parallel in two categories recognized 
in everyday life, duties and virtues. From the con- 
ception of moral obligation and moral law are derived 
typical lines of conduct as norms generally recognized 
in the conduct of individuals : Duties. From the 
conception of end or good follows the recognition of 
certain excellences in conduct : Virtues. ) 

|[t is the act with its consequences that is prominent 
in iiuty. When the personal relations involved in the 
action are used as a basis for classification, duties can 
be classed as (a) duties to a Divine Being, (b) duties to 
fellow-men, (c) duties to the sel|) Such a classification 
will serve to link up duties closely with the institutions 
whereby the particular relation is served. 

(a) Duties to a Divine Being will be linked up closely 
with the institution identified with that set of relation- 
shipsa church or priesthood. jj. It may be said that 
in so far as all moral law is regarded as the command of 
a Divine Lawgiver all duties are duties towards God. 
But something more specific is meant by the phrase 
here. JjMan is regarded as having special obligations to 
fulfil towards a Divine Being or to a Divine order in the 
universe. As a participant in Divine purposes or in 


a Cosmic order man must promote these purposes, 
Worship and service are duties under this heading. 
The rites and ceremonies of the church embody these 
duties of man to the Divine. 

(b) Duties to others include the widely recognized 
duties of Just-dealing, Truth-speaking, Obedience. 
Duties to others are embodied in the many institutions 
which comprise what we term Law. Citizenship, 
Marriage, Property, Family Ties, are other institutions 
wherein such duties find formulation. 

(c) Duties to the self include the care of, and provision 
for, the body and the mind Temperance, Thrift, 
Education. Here too duties are closely related to the 
institutions of social life. 

At has been customary to speak of duties of perfect 
dbd imperfect obligation. This is in effect a non- 
ethical distinction. It corresponds roughly to the 
things we praise a man for doing but cannot blame him 
for not doing, and those which we blame him for not 
doing and do not praise him for doing. Works of 
supererogation are ' perfect ' duties) Such a distinction 
is only possible when deed and consequences are con- 
sidered apart from motive and character. An example 
often used is the action of Grace Darling. No one 
couldliave blamed her for not going to the rescue of the 
shipwrecked men. It was no part of her work to take 
out the boat, But from Grace Darling's own point 
of view there was no such line between perfect and 
imperfect duty. As she saw the situation she had a 
clear call to go to the rescue. 

/It is this relation to character and motive which 
should be prominent in a classification of virtues 
Duties and virtues are often treated as identical. 
They are indeed like the two faces of one coin, faces 
which are often indistinguishable. (The four cardinal 
virtues, Courage, Temperance, Wisdom, and Justice, 


were widely recognized in Greek moral reflections prior 
to Plato. ) But it was he who in the Republic brought 
them into systematic relation with one another. He 
recognized three parts in the soul of man. To each 
part he assigned its own work or function, and in respect 
of its function it had its own excellence or virtue : 
Temperance the virtue of the appetitive functions, 
Courage of the spirited functions, and Wisdom of the 
functions of the rational part of the soul. This gives an 
inner unity to the virtues. The treatment leads us to 
consider the attitude of the soul that is temperate or 
courageous or wise, as well the deeds to which such an 
attitude leads. It is still from deeds that the conception 
of the virtue was mainly derived. It is valour in war that 
gave the pattern of courage. It needed a more sub- 
jective analysis of the virtue than was possible at that 
time to recognize that the same attitude of mind could 
be found in the man who faced sickness and misery as in 
the hero who faced death at the hands of an enemy. In 
Plato's treatment of Justice, however, we can see there 
is recognition of an inward principle of unity. Unlike 
the other three virtues, Justice is not the excellence of any 
one part of the soul ; it is due to the harmonious working 
of all three. ' The just man will not permit the several 
principles within him to do any work but their own, nor 
allow the distinct classes in his soul to interfere with 
each other, but will really set his house in order/ * 

' The State like the soul of man has its sections each 
with its own function : the artisan class, the soldiery 
and the rulers. In relation to the governing or ruling 
section the artisan section must be restrained, and for 
this relation the virtue of temperance is needed. The 
soldiery need courage, the rulers need wisdom. Justice 
is that fourth principle in every child and woman, in 
every slave, freeman, and artisan, in the ruler and in the 

1 Republic, IV, 443, Davies and Vaughan's translation, 



subject, requiring each to do his own work, and not 
meddle with many things.' * Justice will be manifest 
in just acts ; yet it does not consist in just distribution 
of goods nor in just retribution for evil, but is a state of 
mind. The same teaching is found in Aristotle's 
doctrine of virtue as a mean. He finds in the soul of 
man a rational and an irrational part. The latter is 
divisible into that which carries out purely nutritive 
functions and lies altogether outside reason, and that 
which though not itself rational is yet amenable to 
reason. The excellences of this irrational soul con- 
stitute the moral virtues, while the excellences of the 
rational soul constitute the intellectual virtues. Aristotle 
gives a longer list of specific virtues than Plato, but the 
list lacks any principle which would guarantee its 
comprehensiveness. All virtues alike are dispositions or 
habits of mind 'involving deliberate purpose, choice, 
being in the relative mean, determined by reason and as 
the man of practical reason would determine. It is a 
middle state between two faulty ones, in way of excess 
on one side, and defect on the other.' 2 Excellence in 
conduct reveals an attitude of mind, a disposition to 
act in conformity with reason, a disposition that the 
individual has acquired by modelling his actions on 
those of the man of practical reason. Aristotle holds 
that virtue can be taught; it can be acquired by 
practising virtuous actions. For this reason he terms 
it a habit or disposition. 8 The conception of virtue 
as that which avoids excess or defect, which reveals a 
sense of the fitness of things, is in keeping with the 
Greek's attitude towards life. A good life must have 
the qualities of a work of art, harmony, proportion. 
Aristotle works out his doctrine of the mean more 

1 Republic, IV, 433, Davies and Vaughan's translation. 
*Anstotle, Ethics, book II, vi, 15, Chase's translation. 
Cf. 'Habitude', p. 36 


successfully for the moral virtues, courage, liberality, 
truthfulness, etc., than for the intellectual virtues 
of wisdom, art, science, good sense, and intuitive 

(in later Christian Ethics seven virtues were enumer- 
ated (parallel in number to the seven deadly sins) . These 
were the Platonic four cardinal virtues and the three 
Pauline graces, faith, hope, and charity./ The cardinal 
virtues were regarded as ' natural ', bearing on man's 
relation to the world, while the Pauline graces bore on 
man's relation to the spiritual world. A classification 
of virtues is at the best unprofitable unless it is based on 
some psychological or philosophical principle. Philoso- 
phically this list has little to commend it. Justice as 
Plato conceived it covered much that is described as 
Charity in St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. 
The spiritual graces cannot satisfactorily be taken as 
addenda to the Greek virtues. The change they imply 
is a change in outlook. This change is well expressed 
by T. H. Green : ' It is not the sense of duty to a neigh- 
bour, but the practical answer to the question, Who is 
my neighbour ? that has varied/ l ' The moral judg- 
ment at its best in any age or country i.e. in those 
persons who are as purely interested in the perfections 
of mankind and as keenly alive to the conditions of 
that perfection as is then possible is still limited in 
many ways by the degree of progress actually made 
towards the attainment of that perfection.' * This 
brings out the relatiyity of the moral judgment referred 
to in Chapter III. With moral development duties and 
virtues take on new guises. We may regard the recog- 
nized duties and virtues of our age and society as- 
embodying the lines of conduct and attitudes of mind 
which gives concrete expression to the moral judgment. 

1 Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, book III, chapter III, 
* Ibid., a66. 


We may therefore rightly look to recognized duties and 
virtues for guidance in conduct, but we must at the same 
time realize that such duties and virtues are the 
' limited ' expression of the moral judgment. The 
content of the ' ought ' and the ' good ' will develop in 
response to our understanding of moral law and our 
quest for the ends of the moral Self. ' While there is a 
sense in which moral ideas must precede practice, there 
is another in which they follow and depend upon it. 1 l 

It is indeed just this reciprocity between social and 
moral progress which has misled writers into believing 
that a history of civilization furnishes a theory of morals. 
It supplies the concrete story of the values men have 
recognized and have sought, but as a history it is not 
concerned with the problem which lies at the core of 
ethics, the problem of moral value itself, be it as law or 
as good. 

1 Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, book III, chapter III, 266. 





BEFORE entering upon the application of ethical 
principles to conduct it is necessary to turn again 
to consider the psychology of conduct, in par- 
ticular the psychology of character. Only so can we 
understand the bearing of the moral judgment on 
practical problems. 

To trace the development of character would be to 
write a complete psychology not only of conation but 
also of cognition. The development of the field of 
values marches pari passu with man's intellectual 
development. No explanation can be given of the one 
without reference to the other. We saw that trained 
reason and clear-sightedness was essential for the 
survey of remote ends, and that the inhibition of more 
immediate impulses might depend thereon. In this 
connexion there are two interrelated lines of development 
that require fuller treatment in view of their importance 
for Ethics ; these are the growth of the conception of 
the Self or ' Me ' and the formation of sentiments. 


At the level of instinctive and impulsive behaviour 
' me ' is little more in meaning than ' my body '. My 
satisfaction and my dissatisfaction is bound up with the 
satisfaction and dissatisfaction of the bodily organism. 
Of all the objects in his world his body is one of the 


most interesting to the young child. This can be made 
to move or to stop moving, and upon these movements 
depend success and failure, satisfaction and dissatis- 
faction. Experiences due to intero-organic events are 
present in all emotions and form a constant background 
to all perceptual experiences. Memory and imagination 
supply the developing individual with memories and 
fancies of a ' me ' which is not the visible bodily ' me ' 
of the present moment. This ' me J tends to be treated 
like the intero-organic experiences as a bodily self 
dwelling within the organism. Its needs and satis- 
factions influence those of the moment, and it is to all 
intents and purposes a part of the bodily ' me '. 

Knowledge of the bodily self is bound up with know- 
ledge of others, and every new aspect of knowledge of 
the ' me ' entails a new aspect in knowledge of others, 
and vice versa. The social environment by its treatment 
of him holds up a mirror in which the child sees himself. 
The use of his name, and reference to his possessions, to 
his actions, to his likes and dislikes, to his wants, 
awaken a new ' self -consciousness ', as does also the 
imputation of knowing this and that. The child reflects 
on his own experiences and becomes aware of himself as 
a person, a member of a community, having his own 
place therein. By this same process he necessarily 
becomes aware of other selves as persons. They too 
have memories and projects, likes and dislikes, wants 
and wishes that clash or co-operate with his own. He 
realizes that they and he influence each other by speech 
and action. 

Such reflection on self as a person is deepened by the 
growing organization of knowledge. The conception of 
self includes the individual's various fields of intellectual 
interest and his practical abilities. He is the person 
who knows the French irregular verbs, who can swim, 
etc. The self will also include the possessions that are 


instrumental to his life as this or that person. Such a 
conception of self is personal, but it is a manifold. The 
individual is many persons belonging to one and the 
same bodily ' me '. The late Professor James wrote : 
' A man has as many selves as there are people who 
recognize him/ Each individual in his intercourse with 
another expresses a certain facet of his own personality, 
while reflecting a corresponding facet from the personality 
of the other. Suggestion and contra-suggestion are at 
work in personal relations. One whose speech and 
manner betokens suspicion and exaction is met by 
caution and grudging service, and another who makes use 
of exaggerated graciousness evokes a curtness bordering 
on rudeness. 


Modifying Professor James's phraseology, we may 
claim that ' a man has as many selves as he has senti- 
ments '. We owe the use of this term in a technical 
sense to Mr. Alexander Shand. 1 He uses it to stand 
for an organization of emotions round a central object in 
the service of ends relating to that object. He claims 
that the four simple emotions, joy, sorrow, anger, 
fear, have an innate interconnexion. Any impulsive 
tendency when it is satisfied arouses joy, when it is 
frustrated sorrow, when opposed anger, and when 
either frustration or opposition is anticipated fear is 
experienced. These four simple emotions may therefore 
be linked with any object that gives rise to impulsive 
behaviour. An object that is the frequent occasion of 
behaviour is thus likely to acquire over and above its 
original value, whatever this may have been, derived 
values from the four simple emotions for which it may 
be the occasion. Such an object has an enhanced value. 
It is ' interesting ' in a high degree and furnishes 
1 Th Foundations of Character* 


the nucleus for a sentiment. We may say at once 
that if Mr. Shand is right in his claim for the inter- 
connexion of joy, sorrow, fear, and anger, the 
foundation of enhanced interest may be laid just as 
simply by intentional action as by impulsive. What is 
essential is that one and the same object should by 
being an occasion for action give rise to the intercon- 
nected emotions. 

Sentiments are divided by Mr. Shand into two types 
the love type and the hate type. The difference turns 
on the relation of the ends of action to the central object. 
In a sentiment of the love type the various ends of 
action will all be connected with what may be described 
in general terms as the promotion of the well-being of 
the object, or with its maintenance in close relation with 
the self. In a hate sentiment the ends are connected 
with the injury or destruction of the object. The terms 
used to denote sentiments vary. 'Passion* is appro- 
priate to both love and hate sentiments when the 
emotions and desires occurring in relation to the object 
are intense. ' Likes ' and ' dislikes ' may be used as 
appropriate for sentiments of a mild complexion. 

Mr. Shand regards parental love as a sentiment 
having an instinctive basis. The offspring furnishes 
situations arousing instinctive responses. It is an object 
to be fed, to be protected, to be fondled. It makes 
incessant demands on the parent, and in executing them 
the emotions of joy or sorrow, etc., will be experienced. 
These emotions are incidents within the whole organiza- 
tion and arise in connexion with ends all of which may 
be said to concern the well-being of the offspring. The 
name ' love ' indicates the whole organization and not 
any single emotion, A mother's love may be shown as 
much in her anger, in resentment of criticism of her 
offspring, as in her tenderness in fondling it. Her love 
of the child affords an abiding possibility for these 


and other emotions. Similarly, Mr. Shand claims an 
instinctive basis of self -preservation for the sentiment of 
self-love. The earliest occasions for joy, sorrow, anger, 
and fear occur in relation to the weal and woe of the 
body. The bodily ' me ' thus becomes the object of 
an organization which develops into self-love. 

Persons, and things treated as persons, are the objects 
round which the early sentiments centre. It is persons 
who do most to aid or hinder action, who make situations 
into which they enter yield satisfaction or dissatisfaction 
to the child. We may take it as a rough truth that the 
person who is a frequent source of pleasure or joy tends 
to become the centre of a love sentiment. Similarly, 
the person who is a frequent source of frustration, or 
pain, tends to become the centre of a hate sentiment. 
We may notice that to a certain extent there is an 
inversion of the emotions experienced within love and 
hate sentiments respectively. Whereas the loss or 
injury of a beloved object occasions sorrow or anger, 
in a hate sentiment it occasions joy. There is sorrow 
and fear at the absence of a beloved object, there is joy 
in the removal of one that is hated. 

Classes of things, groups of persons, kinds of occupa- 
tion, become objects of sentiments in much the same 
way as particular persons and things. Thus one man 
will love china, another hate cats, another be a devotee 
of racing. In each case there will exist an organization 
into which emotions and desires enter, all of which 
centre round the object in question. The devotee of 
racing will be fearful of any occurrence that threatens 
to come between him and a race-meeting. He will 
arrange his half-holidays to secure as many oppor- 
tunities of participating in this sport as possible. He 
will be angry with those who decry it, and will resent 
their criticism. 

Sentiments are also formed for abstract qualities and 


conditions. Such sentiments are only possible when 
intellectual life has reached its higher stages of develop- 
ment. Love of truth, love of beauty are types of these 
abstract sentiments. Of peculiar importance for the 
understanding of ethical problems is the group we may 
term moral sentiments, love of justice, hatred of cruelty. 
These all relate to qualities of conduct and character, 
and we shall consider them again later. 

Mr. Shand bids us notice that every sentiment tends 
to include in its system all those emotions that are of 
service to its end, and to exclude all those that are 
useless or antagonistic. Thus the tender emotions, 
sympathy, pity, gratitude, find their place in a love 
sentiment but not in one of hate. It is further impor- 
tant to notice that as with intellectual development 
the scope of sentiments is enlarged, the occurrence of 
emotions that are not ' episodes in the life history of 
a sentiment ' becomes rarer. A man who develops a 
passion for birds may never be moved by curiosity in 
relation to any other object. Or, again, a man may 
never show anger save when he is thwarted in pursuing 
ends within one or other of his sentiments. The 
spontaneous emotions of childhood and adolescence 
become less frequent. This means that the primitive 
or acquired value of any situation becomes more and 
more dominated by relevance or irrelevance of the 
situation to some sentiment. A sight which is disgusting 
to a layman may evoke no such emotion in a pathologist. 
It may be an occasion of joy as affording evidence to 
confirm some theory. 

As sentiments influence values so necessarily they 
shape desires. Desires, like emotions, become organized 
more and more within the several sentiments. When 
sentiments have extensive scope, sporadic desires, like 
sporadic emotions, become infrequent. Such desires 
when they occur have little to do with character ; they 


are by-play in the drama of life. Our many-sidedness 
as persons depends upon our many sentiments. A man 
may be a collector of engravings, a despot in the office, 
a bon vivant at the club, and a tender nurse to a cripple 
child at home. In each persona there is a sentiment 
determining conduct, a characteristic ' me ' whose love 
or hate is manifest in the ends of action. 


What, then, is character ? We said that a man has 
as many selves as he has sentiments. How is there to 
be any conception of a true self, a central ' me ' to which 
all the various ' me's ' stand in relation ? Perhaps we 
may say truly that there are persons who have no sense 
of unity and to whom it is difficult to ascribe any 
character. They are unstable, moved now by desires 
relative to this ' me ', now by desires relative to that 
' me ', while between the ' this ' and ' that ' little con- 
nexion is discoverable. But for most persons there is 
a sense of unity. Despite many-sidedness there is one 
personality, and there is character. Among the senti- 
ments there are differences in strength, some sentiments 
being stronger than others. There are oppositions and 
co-operations. We may view sentiments as forming a 
hierarchy, and the hierarchy as determining character. 
It determines also the persona which is to be regarded 
as the real ' me '. 

When we say that the sentiments of any individual 
form a hierarchy we are not claiming that among 
sentiments there is a fixity of order that knows no 
change. We are not claiming that in a given individual 
love of family, say, is always superior to love of sport and 
always subordinate to love of self. The character of an 
individual is expressive of the general trend of the 
sentiments and not of a static system of relationships. 



The place of any sentiment in the hierarchy is impor- 
tant for its influence on conduct. Many writers have 
regarded self-love as the supreme and dominating 
sentiment. We have seen that Mr. Shand thinks that 
this sentiment has an innate basis in the instincts of 
self-preservation. The first self to be loved is the bodily 
self and its well-being is a constant object of solicitude 
throughout life. Here, as in its other guises, ' me ' 
includes 'mine'. 'My' food, 'my' clothes, ^my| 
armchair, are extensions of the bodily ' me '. ' My ' 
friends, ' my ' class, ' my ' property, ' my ' work, ' my ' 
reputation, are extensions of the personal self. The self 
is a permanent centre of value and a background for all 
the purposes of conduct. None the less the claim that 
self-love is necessarily the supreme sentiment is based 
on inadequate analysis. The confusion here is parallel 
to that which we pointed out as lying at the root of 
Psychological Hedonism. Every end in deliberate 
action is viewed as an ' end for me '. It is considered 
in relation to some aspect of the self. But the claim 
that all ends are ends in relation to the self does not 
warrant the assertion that, therefore, the self-regarding 
sentiment presides over all voluntary action. An end 
can be an ' end for me ', although it does not promote 
that well-being which is the objective of my self-love. 
Let us grant that in any inventory of the ends sought by 
a given individual the item ' self ' would occur with 
great frequency, and let us grant further that the self 
has many guises. Even so, against the name of the 
greatest of egoists there would be entered in the recording 
book ends other than ' self '. 

Pride and shame are important emotions in self-love. 
Self as a person enjoys the approbation and suffers from 
the censure of others. Pride and shame arise from 


awareness of such approbation and censure. Self- 
approval and self-criticism similarly foster these emotions. 
Social approbation and social disapprobation affect the 
value of ends. The force of social approbation or 
disapprobation varies with the kind of social relationship 
that exists between an individual and a group, or between 
one individual and another. Social relationships offer 
three broad possibilities : there may be equality between 
X and Y, a give-and-take basis of intercourse ; there may 
be the domination of X by Y ; there may be the subor- 
dination of Y to X. The value of an end for me, the 
inferior, may be very different from what it is for me, 
the superior, and such difference in value is largely due 
to the approbation or censure of the social environment. 

The place of pride in self-love and the influence of 
social relationships may be seen by studying Shake- 
speare's delineation of the character of Coriolanus. 
He is the mother's only son, brought up to think of 
himself as the descendant of a noble house, as a proud 
servant of his country. Her pride in his physical 
strength and martial success is reflected in his own pride. 
Her approbation has from his earliest years influenced 
the value of all enterprises for him. He has taken the 
values she has put on situations and relied on her judg- 
ment. Intellectually he is a straightforward honest 
thinker, but he is wanting in imagination and is devoid 
of subtlety. 

With his equals he is on terms of good fellowship and 
shows no hint of patronage. He has the sentiment of 
class loyalty, he seeks to preserve the well-being of that 
class to which he himself belongs. 1 To Menenius, the 
old man who has fathered him, he shows kindly patience 

1 Galsworthy's play Loyalties furnishes an unequalled study 
of this sentiment, that centres round personal relations and has 
as its end the well-being essential for the preservation of a given 


and gentleness. To his wife he is faithful and affection- 
ate. It is with his inferiors that the pride of self-love 
is evident. By word and manner he shows his contempt. 
He despises their stupidity, greed, and cowardice. He is 
incapable of discrimination, the people are all alike to 
him, inferiors. To lay aside this attitude and court their 
suffrages is to depart from his own standards of conduct. 
To display his wounds and boast of his deeds in war is to 
shame him in his own eyes. It is abhorrent to him that 
this mob should have official protectors and spokesmen. 
Contributory to his hatred of the people's leaders is 
patriotism which sees them as a menace to the State. 
Both patriotism and the resentment of personal pride 
may he behind his indignation at the ' absolute shall ' of 
' this Triton of the minnows '. But it is the pride of self- 
love that cries, ' No, I'll die here. Let them pull all about 
mine ears . . . yet will I still be thus to them.' 

There is war between self-love and love of his mother. 
He is puzzled to realize that in this matter her judgment 
is at variance with his own. Pride makes him declare, ' I 
will not do it, lest I surcease to honour my own truth.' 
But at her appeal all the habits of dependence on her 
judgment and of responsiveness to her praise and blame 
are stirred anew. These prove stronger than pride ; 
self-love is conquered. ' Pray be content, Mother, I am 
going to the market-place.' 

Later when he departs into exile, Coriolanus declares 
to his mother, wife, and group of friends, ' You shall hear 
from me still, and never of me aught but what is like me 
formerly/ These words express a truth we might miss. 
In what comes hereafter, Coriolanus' change of front, the 
transformation of love to hate and hate to love, we have 
nothing but the consistent development of the pride of 
self-love. ' A dissension of a doit ', ' Some trick not 
worth an egg ', which makes friends into enemies and 
converts enemies into friends, owes its potency to its 


bearing on self-love. Coriolanus is bitter, he hates those 
who have insultingly rejected him. He will avenge his 
wounded pride by proving how right he was to despise 
this rabble. There is no touch of shame or of remorse ; 
by the standards of self-love he is justified. 

It is not as a suppliant but as one who can bestow a 
gift that he approaches his old enemy. After the com- 
pact has been made, the old attitude remains. The 
final tragedy is due not to the failure to take Rome 
but to his pride of bearing towards his partner in the 

When once more the battle comes between self-love 
and love of his mother, it is self-love that again is 
vanquished. He is not moved by reasons, but by the 
unrecognized values of the sentiment that binds him to 
his mother. ' There's no man in the world more bound 
to his mother/ ' O mother, mother ! What have you 
done ? ... You have won a happy victory to Rome ; 
but for your son believe it, 0, believe it, most danger- 
ously you have with him prevailed, if not most mortal to 
him. But let it come/ There is no remorse, but there 
is shame. He is conscious of, and as a soldier, is cut by, 
the censure of his Volscian partner and former enemy. 
Yet in the issue it is not shame that he feels when before 
the Volscian nobles, it is bitter resentment and fierce 
.anger at the insults and accusations of the man he has 
beaten in open fight. As he faces death it is the wounded 
pride of self-love that cries out in agony at the taunts of 
his accuser. 


Any light that psychology can throw on the factors 
which determine the relative strength of a sentiment 
is valuable for ethical problems. The question has 


received little study in spite of its great importance. 
The factors involved are very complex and analysis is 

(a) We may accept it as a general truth that a 
sentiment will be very powerful if formed round an 
object that possesses also a primitive value in relation 
to an instinct. Love sentiments that embody a sex 
interest illustrate this. Such sentiments have the 
intensity for which we said the word ' passion ' was 
appropriate. Similarly, an appetite may furnish a 
nucleus for a sentiment that approximates to a passion. 
Love of drink is an example. 

(b) The place that an object occupies in the normal 
scheme of life is significant. An object that is bound 
up with many issues in life will be the centre of an 
influential sentiment. A good illustration is the love of 
money. Money has value as the essential tool for many 
operations. Without it a man is debarred from things 
that have basic value for life, food, clothing, shelter, and 
also from things which have acquired value through his 
education and upbringing, books, music, travel. That 
which is the key to so much becomes loved for its own 
sake. Money is always cited as a typical instance of 
' transferred value '. The miser loves his gold and no 
longer cares for the objects that it will procure. His 
joy, sorrow, fear, and anger centre round money itself. 
He has joy in counting it, fingering it, fear of losing it, 
etc. In few individuals does the transference become 
as complete as this, but for many money is something 
that is loved for its own sake. 

(c) A sentiment whose ends are fulfilled will increase 
in strength. The achievement of any end relating to 
the object of the sentiment tends to raise the value of 
this object. Not only so, but any given deed may open 
the door to new possibilities of action and give oppor- 
tunities for new desires. ' The more you have the more 


you want ' is a saying which illustrates such increasing 
power in a sentiment. 

(d) The better organized any sentiment is the stronger 
it will be. This is probably the most important condi- 
tion determining the strength of a sentiment. We have 
to recognize that organization is shaped by both 
unconscious and conscious factors. 

The value both of people and of things is coloured by 
incidents in which they find a place. Such incidents may 
not attract much notice when they happen and are not 
recalled save under special circumstances, yet they help 
to give ' unconscious ' direction to desires and aversions 
within a sentiment. ' Forgotten ' associations influence 
the course taken by a train of ideas. Strictly speaking 
they are not forgotten, but introspection may fail to 
detect them unless specially directed in a meticulous 
search. There is often an unanalysed background of 
' past experience ' recognized as giving the acquired 
meaning and value of some situation or object, but often 
not credited with all the influence which its ramifications 
merit. In the unconscious organization of a sentiment 
must be included the influence of instinctive tendencies. 
It is the very ease with which these operate that renders 
their influence ' unconscious '. The individual does not 
recognize how much the value of this or that object rests 
upon its connexion with a primitive value. A man may 
champion the cause of some one who has in his view 
been unjustly treated. Justice is the principal object 
of the sentiment, but the fact that the injured person is a 
pretty woman may help to shape the organization. We 
must also include habits. Personal habits and habitual 
performances whether skilled or unskilled may be 
turned to account in the service of a sentiment, although 
they were not originally acquired in that service. The 
habits instilled by naval training will play their part in 
the naval officer's sentiment for the trim homestead to 


which he has retired. He will hardly notice how large 
a part this habit of keeping things ' ship-shape ' plays in 
the enterprises he undertakes or refuses to undertake. 
When an organization of sentiment type is formed with 
no clear recognition of its central object or of the general 
direction of the ends of action, the organization is termed 
a complex. It may need the plain talk of a candid 
friend to make one realize that one is hating a certain 
person who is a rival, and that one is steadily seeking to 
injure and annoy this person on various pretexts and 
in diverse ways. When all the ' 1's ' are dotted and the 
' t's ' crossed and a whole series of past incidents 
arranged before one, recognition of the organization is 
inevitable. The much-talked-of ' inferiority complex ' 
is a good illustration. Here self-love is the root senti- 
ment. The individual has built up a pseudo-belief in 
his own incompetence in some particular direction. The 
grounds for the belief come from other people's treat- 
ment of him as incompetent or unsuccessful. He has 
never critically examined this belief or the grounds for 
it, but he allows it to be dominant, and self-love is 
resentful. This will affect behaviour in one of two 
ways. He will either strive to act as if trying to make 
the belief true be diffident and unwilling to accept 
any responsibilities, or he will act as if wishing to prove 
it false be boastful, over-officious, resentful of any 
criticism of his performances and capacities. We can 
only term the organization ' unconscious ' in the sense 
that there is no clear understanding by the individual of 
what he is aiming at and why he is aiming at it. 

The ' conscious ' intellectual organization of the senti- 
ment is of great importance ethically. Reflective 
thought brings out the interrelation of facts. Trains of 
ideas which have been disjointed or fragmentary are 
systematized and seen in new settings. All intellectual 
organization carries with it some ordering of the ideas 


entering into sentiments, and thus influences the 
sentiments themselves. Reflection allows the end of 
the sentiment as a whole to be recognized and dis- 
tinguished from the ends of the various separate actions 
that fall within the sentiment. It recognizes the 
incompatibility of some of these ends, compares this 
with that as more or less comprehensive. Given the 
central object and the end of the sentiment, it is neces- 
sary to inhibit all desires that conflict with this and to 
foster all such as promote it. From this arises what 
Mr. Shand has termed the relative ethics of the senti- 
ments. Under the immediate influence of the end of 
the sentiment certain values will displace others. In a 
love sentiment that which would otherwise evoke anger 
may fail to do so because it is displaced by tenderness. 
Similarly, the fear value present under the influence of 
hate may render a situation incapable of arousing pity. 
But for the most part it needs a conscious effort of 
thought to keep the end of the sentiment in view and 
to realize the bearing of desires and emotions on that 
end. We thus arrive at ' imperatives ' which Kant 
would have termed ' hypothetical '. ' If I am to main- 
tain my friendship with X I must be patient with his 
slowness of thought/ ' If I am to succeed in abolishing 
this cruel practice I must keep my temper in debate.' 
Thought will lead us to recognize the virtues and the 
duties which the end of the sentiment makes necessary 
if that end is to be achieved. Thought can do more, it 
can show us what emotions stand as hindrances or as 
aids to certain desires. It can teach us with reference 
to these emotions what situations to seek and to avoid 
either in overt behaviour or in idea. We can dwell on 
remembered insults if we wish to fan the flames of 
indignation, we can remember an old kindness if we 
wish to feel some tenderness. Self-approval at obedi- 
ence, and self-disapproval at disobedience to the 


hypothetical imperatives of the sentiment are factors 
that contribute not a little to conscious organization. 

Further, thought can compare the end of one sentiment 
with the end of another. It can see conflict or co-opera- 
tion between sentiments, reason out the consequences 
which will follow from the dominance of the one or 
from the dominance of the other. The influence of such 
inference on the respective sentiments is not nil. We 
say love is blind but the blindness is in a double sense 
' partial '. Love is clear-sighted in respect of what 
affects the well-being of the loved object. It sees plainly 
where the end of some other sentiment will trench on 
this well-being. Comparison of ends will show the 
relative scope of the sentiments. To recognize that 
logically the width of one sentiment is narrower than 
another will influence not only the hierarchy of senti- 
ments but the internal organization of the sentiments 
themselves. Local patriotism takes on a new guise when 
seen in relation to the interests of a wider sentiment, 
say, well-being of the country as a whole. The ends 
within each sentiment may have their relative values 
affected by such contact. 

We may seem to be overrating the influence of reason 
in shaping sentiments, particularly as of late there has 
been a tendency to exalt the influence of the unconscious 
factors at the expense of the intellectual and conscious. 
Both must be looked for. What is perhaps not suffi- 
ciently recognized is that in studying a collocation of 
ends it may need as painstaking an analysis to trace out 
the cogitation of reason as to detect the fermentation of 
the unconscious. 

The better the intellectual and conscious organization 
of a sentiment fits in with the unconscious, the more 
compact and powerful the sentiments will be. Discord 
between the two renders the sentiment ineffective. 
Thus into a love sentiment may enter unrecognized a 


tendency to treat the loved object as a child. Mingling 
with the desires of the tender emotions are desires to 
arrange life for the beloved object, to think and act on 
his or her behalf, ' to manage '. This is a parental 
attitude and it may be at constant war with the intel- 
lectual control which recognizes that undue solicitude 
and superintendence is distasteful to the person con- 
cerned and wounding to her pride. Such a love 
sentiment will suffer from inward conflicts. Where a 
love sentiment is formed for a person of different race 
or social class or even different milieu, the prejudices, 
habits, likes and dislikes of the individual may form a 
background which conflicts with the conscious control 
of his love sentiment. Similarly, ' natural affections ' 
may militate against the organization of a hate sentiment 
towards one who is bound to the individual by ties 
of blood. The background of unhappy experiences in 
childhood may be another source of unconscious factors 
which war with conscious organization. 


As we have already said these are sentiments belonging 
to the group labelled abstract, having as their objects 
not persons or things but qualities of character and 
conduct. Such sentiments imply ability to abstract 
qualities from the concrete incidents in which they are 
embodied and to treat them as centres round which 
emotional attitudes may organize. The end of the moral 
sentiment is promotion of the quality loved and destruc- 
tion of the quality hated. Like the aesthetic sentiment 
a moral sentiment seeks opportunities for enjoying the 
quality loved. It cannot be regarded as creative in the 
sense in which the love of beauty is creative, but one 
may claim that both aim at encouraging the formation 
of similar sentiments in others. The man who loves 


justice seeks to make others love justice also. This 
characteristic of ' propagation ' is peculiar to moral, 
aesthetic, and religious sentiments. 

The qualities of character or conduct which form the 
objects of moral love sentiments are all qualities which 
are approved by the moral judgment of the individual ; 
those that form the objects of hate sentiments are 
disapproved by the moral judgment. Moral judgment 
and moral sentiment should thus run side by side. We 
have, however, already pointed out that the moral 
judgment cannot be understood as meaning that a love 
or hate sentiment for a given line of conduct exists. 
What we want to emphasize now is that the moral 
judgment is essential for the existence of the sentiment. 
Love of justice depends on the judgment justice is good, 
right. Hatred of deceit depends on the judgment deceit 
is bad, wrong. The moral judgment on qualities of 
character and conduct may be present without the 
sentiment, but not the sentiment without the judgment. 
We may state it more explicitly this way : it is the 
judgment of the quality as morally good or the reverse 
that renders the quality valuable and so capable of 
being the centre of a sentiment. Such values, then, 
may be termed moral values in a special sense. Every 
value is a moral value in the sense that it can call forth 
action which may fall under the rndfal judgment. A 
fear evoking situation has a moral value. Should the 
judgment change with moral progress or deterioration, 
but the sentiment remain as a habitude, it is termed a 
quasi-moral sentiment. 

We shall see in the next chapter that there can be 
conflict between the moral judgment and various senti- 
ments. There is never, however, a conflict between a 
moral sentiment and the moral judgment of the 
individual. In everyday speech the word conscience is 
sometimes used for the moral sentiment, sometimes for 


the moral judgment. It is perhaps more often used in 
the latter sense. Thus conscience may be said to 
condemn a quality in conduct, when no dislike for that 
quality is implied. There is a moral judgment but no 

Before leaving this topic of moral sentiments we 
must notice what we have referred to in a different 
connexion, viz. that our conception of moral qualities 
in character and in conduct changes. We are influenced 
by the ideas of our age and our immediate environment 
as to what constitutes courage or cruelty. It is possible 
to hate cruelty yet enjoy watching a bullfight or following 
the hounds. We may remind ourselves again of the 
sense in which the moral judgment is relative. Adapting 
Green's words, we may say : ' It is not the recognition 
that cruelty is wrong but the practical answer to the 
question, What is cruelty ? that has varied in the last 
four hundred years '. A Spaniard sees no cruelty in a 
bullfight, an Englishman sees none in fox-hunting. 


The sentiments whose relation to the moral sentiments 
are of great importance are the religious sentiments. 
These sentiments depend upon belief in the Divine, they 
are not dependent upon the moral judgment. It is the 
belief in some Power or Spirit over and above the world 
of finite beings that inspires worship and love for what 
appertains to this Spirit. If the belief is belief in a 
personal God, the most powerful of religious sentiments 
will be love of the Divine Person. The outstanding end 
for such a love sentiment is to be in communion with 
the Divine and to be the instrument of His Will. Love 
for the things of the Spirit is dependent upon belief in 
their Divine origin. ' Every good gift and every perfect 
gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of 


lights.' Whether or not hate sentiments can form part 
of the group of religious sentiments we may regard as 
an open question. The character of the belief held 
must be taken into account. The ends of hate senti- 
ments are destruction and injury ; such ends may be 
incompatible with the highest conception of communion 
with the Divine. For the Christian the admonition 
to abhor evil is coupled with the exhortation, 
' Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with 

The characteristic noticed in the aesthetic and moral 
sentiments, viz. the desire for the presence of like 
sentiments in others, is present in religious sentiments. 
They are the spring of propaganda. 

For those who hold that the Divine is the source of 
the highest good and the source of moral law, the 
religious sentiments will be more comprehensive than 
the moral sentiments, and the latter will be derivative 
from the former. For those who do not hold this view 
the two groups of sentiments are distinct, though the 
ends pursued by the one will be in harmony with ends 
pursued by the other. This harmony in ends viewed as 
deeds or concrete actions must not blind us to the differ- 
ence in the ends viewed as motives. The sentiments to 
which they belong are different. For the everyday 
conduct of life few may feel any call to differentiate 
between the moral and religious sentiments. It is in 
the crises of life that the difference is apparent to the 
conscientious. The ends of the religious sentiments 
will touch the inmost springs of their being for those who 
are in communion with God. It is from such com- 
munion that the ends derive their value, not from the 
pronouncement of the moral judgment, ' That is good ', 
' That is right '. The value which such a pronounce- 
ment would give is additional. It is out of place 
here to do more than mention the function of prayer 


and thanksgiving in the service of the religious 


Supposing a man's character to be what it is at any 
time, i.e. with a given trend in the hierarchy of the 
sentiments, will this hierarchy determine the issue of 
choice ? This is the problem of free will from a psycho- 
logical point of view. No one now contends for freedom 
of the will in the old sense of ' unmotived choice ' 
Libertarianism. We do not regard ' will ' as the name 
for a special faculty. It is not a detached power of 
mind that can be brought to bear on a conflict of 
motives, and, with complete disregard for the strength 
of these motives, decide the issue this way or that. 
Such a free will would render choice caprice. A man's 
decisions would have no intelligible relation to his past 
decisions and no bearing on his future ones. 

No one, again, contends that voluntary action is 
necessarily determined by the relative strength of the 
competing desires, such strength being measured in 
terms of pleasure and pain. This doctrine was the 
corollary to Psychological Hedonism. Such hedonism 
saw in reward and punishment the make-weights 
whereby the balance might be tipped this way or that. 
Reward would add an increment to a pleasure value. 
Punishment would counteract pleasure by adding an 
increment on the side of pain. 

When Psychological Hedonism was discredited this 
form of the doctrine of Determinism had likewise to be 
abandoned. In its place came the doctrine that choice 
was determined by the strongest motive and that 
strength of motive depended on character : the doctrine 
of Self-determinism. The doctrine is liable to be 
misunderstood. In considering the strength of a 
motive we may confuse the value of the end with the 


urgency of desire. Or, if free from this error, we may 
assume that the urgency of desire measures the value 
of the end for me. This assumption is without founda- 
tion. The urgency of desire or the pain of shortcoming 
largely depends upon the relevance of the desired end to 
the present situation. Being as I am m this situation, 
that end has a given suitability, and the urgency of 
desire depends upon this suitability. Any condition 
wherein the end supplies a need will serve as a good 
illustration of ' suitability '. Say I do not possess 
a typewriter and my work requires one, then a type- 
writer is highly suitable as an end. Suppose I am 
offered one on the hire-purchase system, the urgency of 
my desire for it will be great. But the value of this end 
for me is not necessarily measured by this urgency. 
The value of the end depends on the relation of the end 
to me, and this ' me ' is not merely the ' me ' of the 
moment, but what I am to myself in deliberation. Say 
I am a cautious person little prone to take risks, the 
typewriter as an end for me may have a value which is 
not equal to the urgency of my desire but considerably 
less. Being as I ami desire it strongly, but being what 
I am the strength of the end as a motive is not great. 
The desire to be on the safe side in money matters is less 
urgent, but the end has more power as a motive. The 
doctrine of Self -determinism, then, is not tantamount to 
the doctrine that the strongest desire determines choice. 
We may approach the question from another angle. 
The question, Can reason be a motive ? is often asked. 
The answer given may be an uncompromising ' No, the 
function of reason is confined to tracing out means and 
consequences '. Psychological evidence would seem to 
confirm the negative answer, but not the limitation of 
function. We have dealt with the question of ideo- 
motor action already in Chapter II. Ideas as knowledge 
have no power to move the will. When we say that the 


knowledge of certain facts moves us, we are uninten- 
tionally omitting part of what is taking place. It is not 
the knowledge but the way that knowledge affects us 
which moves us. In other words, it is ' value ' and not 
' meaning ' that renders knowledge a motive. Reason 
can only be a motive in so far as it influences the value 
of ideas. But does reason influence the value of ideas ? 
Indirectly it does. An end is always an end for me ; 
the ' me ' in question is relative to the sentiment 
involved, and the sentiments are organized in part at 
least by reason. There is an appropriateness in the 
expression ' rational conduct ' which is independent of 
its reference to fitness of means or to foresight of con- 
sequences. ' Rational conduct ' will signify conduct 
wherein the rival ends have been formed under the 
influence of reason. The ' me ' in such volition is not 
the ' me ' of the moment. The strongest motive draws 
its strength from the sentiment to which it belongs, and 
the relative strength of this sentiment is measured by 
its place in the hierarchy. 

The seeming exceptions to such Self-determinism are 
cases where volition follows strongest desire in the sense 
explained. These, strictly speaking, are impulsive 
actions, the drive being the pain of shortcoming. They 
simulate the form of actions due to motives. The 
resolution of a conflict of desires through impatience is a 
case in point. It is not the value of the rival ends, but 
the urgency of the desire to do something that makes 
the individual ' choose ' whatever is in mind at the 
psychological moment. 

When we consider that we have chosen against the 
strongest motive we are often under an illusion. As 
Professor Stout has pointed out, when a choice has been 
made and we are launched upon a line of action, we 
come face to face with all the actual difficulties, both 
those we foresaw and those we did not. The difficulties 


belonging to the other course of action which we did not 
choose are present only as ideas. Well then may it 
seem to us in our struggles as if we had chosen along 
the line of greater resistance, and that the strongest 
motive lay behind the alternative we did not choose. 



IN Chapter III we were concerned with the determina- 
tion of the moral judgment. We now turn to the 
psychological question of the way in which we 
arrive at this judgment on any given occasion. 

Does the individual in each particular case of conduct 
pronounce the moral judgment, ' This is good ' or ' This 
is right ', without any reference to anything save the 
particular instance ? Or does the individual refer each 
particular case to some general principle ; does he see 
' this ' as an instance falling under some ' dominant 
good ' or some recognized law ? In the great majority 
of cases the individual probably does neither. He does 
not exercise a ' moral sense ', and he does not reason 
back to first principles. By saying that he does not 
exercise a moral sense we mean that he has not any 
immediate experience of the moral qualities good, evil, 
right, wrong, comparable to the immediate experience 
of sound or colour. 

" The moral education of the individual begins with 
particular instances and is usually in terms of law, of 
' ought ' and ' ought not ' or ' right ' and ' wrong '. He 
soon becomes aware of a rule embedded in the particular 
injunction or prohibition. He gains from his social 
environment the current opinion of what actions are 
duties and what qualities virtues. His moral judgments 
are echoes of the accepted opinion of those whom he has 
learned to respect. It is only the last words of this 
sentence that indicate the feature which renders these 



' echoes of accepted opinions ' moral judgments. They 
are only moral judgments if they embody some recog- 
nition of the accepted opinions as ' authoritative '. In 
everyday matters the individual has no difficulty in 
recognizing what ought to be done, what is good, what 
is evil. Each instance is of a recognized type/ We 
may compare such recognition, if we will, to the per- 
ceptual recognition of things this is fir-tree, that is 
larch and call it moral perception. The judgment 
is particular, but in so far as each act is typical of its 
kind, a universal is implied. 

When the individual for any reason begins to question, 
' What ought I to do ? ' ' Which is the better course ? ' 
he usually falls back on maxims and generalizations 
which can apply to this particular situation. For these 
axiomata media he knows there is some further 
justification, but he does not make the grounds of justifi- 
cation explicit or examine their applicability to the 
present use of the maxims. For example, he accepts 
such-and-such a course as ' right ', on the ground of 
the maxim, ' The simpler course is more honest ', or of 
such a maxim as ' Better to err on the side of generosity '. 
Should a problem call for further analysis, or should the 
issue be seen to be of great moment, then there is a 
steady attempt to reason out a moral judgment from 
general principles, to arrive at values which stand in 
relation to something recognized as a dominant good. 
In Chapter III we took up the position that ideal ends 
(or, if one will, ' dominant goods ') regulate moral values, 
and that it is upon ends that moral laws depend. 

In what follows we are taking up some of the 
difficulties that arise in coming to a decision on moral 
questions. Some of these are primarily intellectual 
difficulties, difficulties of knowing which is the right 
course ; others are primarily difficulties of volition, of 
witting the good. 



In taking up the question of conflicting duties we are 
entering upon ethical casuistry, the application of ethical 
principles. Of two or more lines of conduct, one and 
one only can be truly in accordance with the moral 
judgment. Conflict arises from the claims of the 
different courses to be that one. For simplicity's sake 
we will assume that the conflict arises in relation to 
lines of conduct neither of which is yet realized. When 
it arises in relation to conduct where one line has already 
been followed, the data for solution of the conflict are 
different. On the one hand, consequences that have or 
have not fulfilled intentions, have to be weighed against 
intended consequences which have not met the test of 
realization. The question of motives is complicated by 
this difference in the status of the intentions. Though 
the principles which lie behind thfe solution of conflict 
are the same, it is simpler to discuss them in relation 
to conflict between two unrealized lines of conduct. 

(a) There is the conflict that arises from ignorance or 
inability to reason things out, from lack of insight, 
We often realize that the inferior or superior moral 
claim of one line of conduct in comparison with any 
other would be apparent if we knew more. We are 
morally baffled because we are intellectually baffled. 
The conscientious voter may find the casting of his 
political vote a moral problem. On the facts as he 
knows them he can see no clear ground for preferring 
X to Y. We may again be unable to work out the 
bearing of the alternative courses of action, be unable 
to see their influence on our own life or on the lives of 
others. In social work such difficulties frequently 
confront us ; e.g. to countenance or discountenance 
birth-control. These are cases where the first obliga- 
tion is delay, inhibition of action, and a search for 


enlightenment. It may be urged that not merely 
delay but abstention from action is the right course. 
Passivity is not always possible and may on occasion be 
itself an evil. 

Such cases constitute those wherein recourse may be 
had to authority. In everyday affairs when we lack 
knowledge or insight we seek the advice of some one 
whose opinion we respect. We consult some one who, 
we have reason to believe, can see farther into the problem 
than we can, or who has expert knowledge. It may be 
objected that in making a moral decision the case is 
different ; that if we follow authority we are not deciding 
for ourselves, and the line of conduct followed is not 
our line of conduct. This is not strictly true. We are 
premising that the individual is interested in the decision, 
that he desires to decide for the best. If this be so, he 
will be in earnest in his endeavour to find the solution. 
He will choose the best advice he can. He has the moral 
responsibility of doing this, and further, of making clear 
to his counsellor where his difficulties of solution lie. To 
this extent, then, the solution is the outcome of his action. 

Supposing that the advice received does not satisfy 
the inquirer, what ought he to do ? There is more than 
one possible meaning in this question. In what sense is 
the advice ' unsatisfying ' ? We start out with an 
intellectual difficulty, and we must not slip into a 
difficulty which arises not from inability to see the 
solution but from the unacceptable character of the 
course directed. In the latter case the advice is con- 
trary to some desire that the person privately holds. 
It is easy to be self -deceived about the nature of a moral 
conflict and to believe that there is a conflict of duties 
when in truth there is a conflict between the categorical 
imperative and some desire arising from a sentiment. 
In other words, it is easy to mistake a difficulty of 
willing for a difficulty of knowing. The only sense in 


which we can say here that the advice is ' unsatisfying ' 
is that it fails to satisfy our intellect. The inquirer is 
unenlightened, he does not see the force of the argu- 
ments. In such a case he may seem to stand where he 
was, and in following authority he may be said to act 
blindly. That is so, but we may not say that he acts 
'irrationally'. We have assumed that he recognizes 
the trustworthiness of the authority he consults. That, 
we have said, is his moral responsibility in consulting it. 
(b) It may, however, happen that the opinion fails to 
satisfy for a different cause. In consulting authority 
the inquirer may have cleared his own intellectual 
vision. Putting the case to another may have made 
the case itself clearer. The solution which now is 
apparent to him is, however, not the line of solution 
recommended by his adviser. When this happens we 
have very real difficulties of moral judgment. Many 
' cases of conscience ' are of this type. Authority 
advises X and conscience says Y. Which shall a man 
follow ? It is perhaps not unreasonable to treat com- 
mands and prohibitions differently. To go forward 
with some particular line of judgment against one's own 
moral judgment may well be wrong. One action leads 
to another and the agent becomes committed to much. 
To refrain from some line of conduct condemned by 
authority, but in conformity with one's own moral judg- 
ment, may be prudence. Much will depend upon the 
clarity of the individual's own judgment. If the 
imperative is a clear call it will be as immoral to refrain 
from action as it is to act against an inhibitory judg- 
ment. Stress as we may the inalienable individuality 
of the moral agent, he cannot be separated from his 
social environment, the ideals of his age and the institu- 
tions in which these ideals are embedded. The justifica- 
tion of the agent's decision to follow or resist the 
guidance of authority must ultimately rest on his 


judgment of its enlightenment in comparison with his 
own. If he judges it to express a higher morality than 
he personally realizes in his own conduct, he is well 
advised in following authority, even if it conflicts with 
his own decision on the present occasion. If, on the 
other hand, he detects prejudice, conventionality in the 
moral judgment of authority, then he must follow his 
own light. 

Such a conflict may often arise within the exercise of 
professional duties. Consider the case of a nurse 
ordered by a doctor to take tests on a patient at pre- 
scribed intervals. The patient is dying, he has suffered 
greatly and is now lying in a semi-conscious condition ; 
in order to take the prescribed test it will be necessary 
to stimulate the patient and bring him back again to a 
consciousness of pain. What ought the nurse to do ? 
She does not know the purpose of the test and cannot 
judge of the importance or unimportance of a record 
from this particular patient. She cannot make any 
enlightened decision. She has to choose between 
loyalty to a professional code and loyalty to the patient, 
not as a hospita] * specimen ' but as a bit of suffering 
humanity whose weal or woe is in her keeping. It is 
difficult, of course, to disregard her own emotional dis- 
tress at Being the occasion of suffering, but if it is truly 
a conflict of duties this emotional factor must not weigh 
in the scalepans. It is a conflict between obedience to 
a professional code and the duty of a nurse to a patient. 

We may consider an instance where the principles 
recognized by the individual come into conflict with 
those held by the institution or professional body to 
which he belongs. The situation may be complicated 
by the fact that though the individual judges the 
institution to be wrong in this particular instance, he 
recognizes the value of the code it professes and the 
importance of such a code for society. Such is the 


position of a doctor called upon to administer an 
anaesthetic for an operation of manipulative surgery by 
an unqualified practitioner. The skill of the operator, 
the success of the operation and its benefit to the patient 
may each be beyond question in his mind. His pro- 
fessional interest and his skill as an anaesthetist prompt 
him to undertake his part in the work. Healing is a 
duty, but on the other hand his professional code forbids 
his assisting an unqualified man. Humanity or loyalty, 
which shall he choose ? Emotional appeals are present, 
but behind such appeals there is also the conflict of 
duties. The doctor may sincerely believe that his own 
ideals of medical service, which would make him accept 
the manipulative surgeon as a colleague, are higher than 
those laid down by his profession. His moral judgment 
of the act would be : 'It is right/ But he cannot 
consider this particular deed only. He has to weigh 
the rightness of departing from a code which on the 
whole he believes to be good and important for the well- 
being of the general public. To realize the exact nature 
of the conflict let us contrast it with the case of the 
same doctor invited to take part in an illegal operation 
and offered a high fee for his services. Let us suppose 
that he is a poor man and that the offer on monetary 
grounds is important, let us add that he feels pity for 
the woman and believes her to be a victim more sinned 
against than sinning ; yet if he is a straight man there 
will be no conflict of duties. The conflict in such a case 
is between duty and desires springing from sentiments, 
love of family which makes money precious, or champion- 
ship of the weak which makes him pitiful. His own 
moral judgment is in entire agreement with the code of 
his profession. He accepts its judgment on such cases 
as the right one. 

It is impossible to give a stereotyped answer to the 
question, When does the recognition of right require that 


a man should throw over the recognized standards of 
institutions which he, on the whole, judges to be good ? 
Many a young man had to face this problem in the war. 
Some decided it one way and some another. Many who 
joined up were conscientious objectors, but decided that 
their duty lay in the acceptance of the current standard 
of their fellow-countrymen rather than in following 
their own view of war as evil. The highest good, the 
moral law, are not abstractions in this life. They have 
to be sought and followed in complex conditions. What 
a man may judge right under certain conditions may 
not be right under the conditions which actually con- 
front him. The moral judgment is relative to the 
situation but not to the one who judges. The individual 
has the obligation of choosing the best so far as he sees 
it, the right so far as he recognizes it. But he cannot 
honestly believe that a judgment other than the one he 
makes is the true moral judgment on the situation as he 
sees it. 

(c) We have distinguished between duties and virtues, 
making the former consist in lines of conduct recognized 
as in accordance with moral law and the latter in 
excellences of character, fixed dispositions of mind. 
This distinction sometimes makes itself felt as conflict. 
Conduct viewed from the two angles presents different 
faces to the moral judgment. /Viewed in relation to 
consequences conduct may call for one judgment, 
viewed in relation to character it may seem to require 
another. This kind of conflict is implied by such sayings 
as ' Never do evil that good may come of it ', ' The end 
justifies the means '. If what we do is really evil, good 
will not come of it. If the end is really good, the means 
cannot be evil. The opposition presented by these 
sayings is a superficial opposition. The evil may lie in 
the motives, the seeming good in consequences. Or 
good be in the agent's motives, evil in the steps whereby 


they are fulfilled. If a closer scrutiny is taken evil will 
be seen in the consequences as well as in the motive. 
The antithesis of means and end is artificial. An end 
linked to evil means cannot be itself a purely good end. 1 
' Never do evil that good may come of it ' may seem 
applicable as a maxim to the difficulty which may con- 
front a nurse when she is torn between truth and mercy. 
We recognize truth as a duty, a line of conduct 
between man and man in their intercourse one with 
another. It stands in relation to many social institu- 
tions contracts, barter, etc. We may, if we will, view 
it from the standpoint of character, truthfulness, a dis- 
position of mind towards one's fellow-men. It is a form 
of benevolence and fair dealing which falls under Plato's 
virtue of Justice. To tell a patient a lie about his con- 
dition or about the condition of some one related to 
him, considered abstractly, presents no ethical problem. 
A lie is wrong, truth-speaking is right. But taken in a 
concrete situation truth-speaking may give rise to a 
problem. Suppose a patient's recovery to depend upon 
peace of mind. He has been brought into hospital 
seriously injured in a motor collision and his first 
question on regaining consciousness is, ' Was the other 
man killed ? ' To answer ' Yes ' is to jeopardize the 
patient's chance of life. To answer ' No ' is to tell a 
lie. Does the maxim hold here ? Shall the nurse 
adhere to truth or shall she save life ? Some one may 
answer, ' The end justifies the means '. That is to 
assume exactly as the other maxim assumes that the lie 
here is evil. If we go into the duty of truth-speaking 
wherein does the evil it is opposed to, consist ? The 
evil of deception rests on the social relations of man to 
man. Suppression of truth in our own interests is a 
breach of moral law. To lie in order to promote the 
well-being of one at the expense of another is clearly a 
1 Cf. J. Laird, A Study in Moral Theory, chapter III. 


sin against justice. But where is the injustice in the 
case supposed ? The motive behind the lie is the 
patient's well-being. If the truth be told it will defeat 
its own moral end, justice. The patient's well-being 
will be sacrificed to an abstract code, perhaps even to a 
personal pride in conscious rectitude. If the good of 
the end be fully accepted then the evil of the means is 
apparent only and not real. Any moral judgment that 
is to oppose the telling of the lie must do so by recognizing 
evil in the end as well as in the means. This will 
be more apparent if we consider truth-speaking and 
betrayal of trust. 

(d) If the relations existing between two persons are 
based on the belief that each can trust the other in 
certain assigned respects, for instance in this very 
matter of speaking truthfully, then the duty of speaking 
the truth stands on a different footing. It is not a 
derivative consequence of just dealing and benevolence, 
it is essential to the relationship between the persons 
A and B. To betray the trust each has in the other is 
to destroy that relationship. If a conflict arises, it is 
this relationship that has to be weighed against the 
conflicting duty. To take an instance as nearly parallel 
as possible to our previous one, let us suppose a patient 
has confidence in a nurse and trusts that she will truth- 
fully answer a question about the findings of an opera- 
tion or examination ; suppose further that both patient 
and nurse realize that trust has been given and accepted. 
The conflict of truth or mercy arises. As before it may 
be claimed that a lie would be for the patient's peace of 
mind and is to be told in the interests of benevolence. 
There is, however, here a very definite evil which will 
spring out of the lie, the loss of trust. A definite 
relationship between nurse and patient, based on 
mutual confidence, will be destroyed. In social work 
one may be confronted with a similar dilemma. Betrayal 


of trust may involve losing the whole basis upon which 
work with a particular person is possible, a basis which 
has only been won by patience and goodwill. An 
answer to an official inquiry demands a truthful answer. 
Shall the worker betray the individual or the family by 
a truthful answer ? In this as in other cases it is difficult 
not to confuse the emotional with the moral issues. If 
betrayal of trust in this case is judged wrong it is not 
fear of the subsequent distress of a broken friendship 
that makes it so, any more than it is the unpleasantness 
of telling the truth that makes this the right course. 
The Tightness or wrongness lies in the line of action con- 
sidered in relation to its setting and to the agent's 
motive and character. 

One might perhaps interpolate at this point a com- 
ment on unpleasantness and right. In our sober 
moments we do on the whole distrust the pleasant 
course of conduct and regard the unpleasant as probably 
the right course. Why do we make this association of 
Tightness and unpleasantness ? We have rejected 
Psychological Hedonism and do not view pleasure and 
pain as the sole motives to conduct, nor even as the 
commonest motives, but this does not explain the 
general distrust of the pleasant primrose path. Common 
sense finds in the unpleasantness of a course of action a 
test that our motive is not merely an interested one. 
The unpleasantness of an action does not in the least 
contribute to, or test, the Tightness of an action, but it 
does guarantee that the course is being followed for some 
other motive than our own immediate pleasure. So far 
as it goes, this may be to the good. The danger to the 
moral judgment arises when we are led by confusion of 
ideas to mistake this negative test of motive for a test of 
Tightness or goodness. 

Betrayal of trust may, of course, take other forms 
than that of giving a false answer to a direct question, 


but it always involves some definite social relationship, 
and the morality of breach of trust will be bound up 
with that relationship. From the point of view of 
society the solidarity of relations intentionally entered 
into between members of an association is fundamental. 
We recognize it even when the association itself may not 
be a very desirable one, e.g. honour among thieves, 
debts of honour. Where a situation is triangular the 
moral problem is often very great. Betrayal of the 
trust of A to B may involve change in the relation of 
A or B to C. Take, for example, the position of a sister 
who is in a relation to (a) the matron, and (b) the nurses 
in her ward. Both relations involve trust. The matron 
relies upon her to fulfil certain obligations. It is her 
duty to make reports, to uphold regulations. The 
nurses rely upon her also to fulfil certain obligations 
towards them, to uphold their rights, to protect them 
from unauthorized criticism and complaint. It is a 
counsel of wisdom to say no sister should accept obliga- 
tions under (a) which can possibly conflict with those 
under (b) and vice versa. For notwithstanding wisdom 
and care in entering upon positions of trust, an individual 
may find herself in a situation where she is faced with 
breach of trust towards (a) or (b). She may feel she has 
to choose between being false to one or other of the 
parties who put trust in her. It is a type of conflict 
that comes to all who hold any position of authority 
and who are also responsible to a higher authority, e.g. 
a worker under the Charity Organization Society or 
County Council. When such a conflict occurs it is 
important to distinguish clearly between obligations 
that belong to an official relation, e.g. sister to matron, 
sister to nurse, worker to fellow-worker, worker to head, 
and obligations that are due to a personal relation. In 
coming to a decision the difference in type of relation 
must be recognized, otherwise the relative weight of the 


two claims cannot be appreciated ; e.g. the conflict in 
deciding whether one's obligation to the authorities 
requires one to enforce a new order which one considers 
grossly unfair to the nurses whom it affects, is of a 
different type from the conflict in deciding whether to 
make or not to make to the matron a report that will 
involve the dismissal and damage the career of a nurse 
who has accorded to the sister a dog-like devotion. In 
the latter case the sister sees clearly that the report is 
just and that the matron has a right to know the facts 
it would reveal. Sometimes one may find the claims 
irreconcilable and be forced to resign one's position in 
order to be released from obligations which cannot be 
fulfilled and neither of which can be sacrificed to the 
other. Is repudiation of one side or other justifiable ? 
If any machinery exists by which the justice of the 
obligations laid on the person in authority can be 
examined that machinery ought to be used. If it is 
possible for, say, the sister, to discuss with the matron 
or sub-matron the difficulties in which some requirement 
places her, it would seem a first duty to make use of 
such a possibility. Similarly, if it be possible to make 
clear to her nurses the difficulty which some action of 
theirs throws upon her as the sister-in-charge, this also 
should be done. But supposing in the last resort these 
steps fail of effect, or supposing they are steps which 
cannot be taken, what is to be done ? Ought the sister 
to rebel against authority, to refuse to carry out some 
obligation ? A social worker may have a similar 
problem. If she is in an administrative position she 
may be confronted with recommendations for promotion 
which she considers unfair to workers under her super- 
vision. Ought she, as an administrator, to ride rough- 
shod over those below her and carry out an order which 
infringes their rights? This is, after all, the same 
problem as that discussed above. It is a case of 


conscience to decide when to follow one's own light and 
when to accept the guidance of others. One thing can 
be laid down as undesirable, and that is the tacit 
repudiation of trust. If either (a) or (ft) is content that 
certain obligations involved in their relations should not 
be fulfilled, then those obligations should be openly 
discarded. This applies particularly to rules and 
regulations. Rules that every one breaks and whose 
breach is generally recognized, should be repealed. A 
recognized breach has a weakening effect on the obliga- 
tions which are not repudiated, while the rules them- 
selves are a constant source of embarrassment to the 
conscientious members of the community. 

(e) Conflict between justice and benevolence is perhaps 
more apparent than real, since benevolence is an aspect 
of justice. Hastings Rashdall writes : * Benevolence 
asserts the value of goods, justice asserts the value of 
persons/ * The word ' benevolence ' literally, of course, 
expresses the willing or purposing of good ; to us it 
connotes, in particular, the willing or purposing the 
good of others. We cited the intuitive principle laid 
down by Sidgwick : ' The good of any one individual is 
of no more importance from the point of view of the 
universe, than the good of any other/ This is the 
principle* that links benevolence with justice. Justice 
asserts the claim of persons qua persons to their place in 
the social whole. For Plato, justice both in the indi- 
vidual and in the State was the harmonious fulfilment 
of function without interference between one power and 
another. One may distinguish between distributive and 
retributive justice. Distributive justice requires a fair 
distribution of goods and of opportunities for acquiring 
goods. Retributive justice includes both reparation 
and requital of desert. It is plain that both are 

1 Hastings Rashdall, Theory of Good and Evil, book I, VIII, 
p. 268. 


concerned with rights and obligations. The rights and 
obligations recognized by the State are the affair of law. 
It is distributive justice combined with benevolence that 
leads to Bentham's axiom, ' Everyone to count for one 
and nobody for more than one in his claim on the 
highest good/ From this point of view it may well 
seem as if the duty of benevolence and the duty of 
justice could never clash and yet in concrete situations 
such a clash is experienced. It is easy in theory to 
postulate equality in distribution and in retribution, but 
' equality ' is in practice a difficult concept to apply. 
We may question whether it is strictly true to claim 
that the good of any individual is of no more importance 
than the good of any other. The good of the good man 
to the society in which he lives, may well be of greater 
importance than the good of the man of middling virtue. 
If we remember Plato's teaching of justice as harmonious 
fulfilment of function, we may doubt whether any 
absolute equality in distribution of goods, or rather of 
opportunities for acquiring dominant goods, is com- 
patible with justice. Hastings Rashdall holds that the 
equality to which each has a claim is equality in the 
right to consideration. ' What particular legal rights, 
in certain conditions of time or place, best conduce to 
each man being equally considered in the distribution of 
well-being, must be ascertained by experience/ x 

' An equal right to consideration ' sets a hard problem. 
A conflict arises from our ability to appreciate the claims 
of some and our inability to appreciate the claims of 
others. The disposition that purposes the good of 
others and which we term the virtue of benevolence 
often carries with it some tinge of affection or attraction 
towards those whose good is in question. This emo- 
tional setting makes the appreciation of claims to 
consideration a very difficult one and brings benevolence 

1 Hastings Rashdall, Theory of Good and Evil, vol. II, p. 22. 


and justice into conflict. In regard to particular people 
whose good we have at heart we understand and excuse 
shortcomings, we find extenuating circumstances, and 
this without any conscious bias in favour of their claims 
as against the claims of others. Again, we realize the 
importance or value of certain opportunities for acquiring 
a dominant good in the case of some people better than 
in the case of others. We can appreciate the gifts or 
abilities that these people possess and may fail to 
appreciate the gifts or capacities of persons of a different 
type. It is thus often difficult to lay aside the class 
prejudice and the personal taste which renders us 
' benevolent ' towards some persons rather than others. 
Justice demands equal benevolence, and when benevo- 
lence falls short of this, there is conflict. The emblematic 
figure with the bandaged eyes and the scales typifies the 
demands of Justice, fair weighing and blindness to all 
the considerations that are irrelevant. It is the sifting 
of relevant from irrelevant which renders the execution 
of distributive or retributive justice difficult. We may 
not disregard anything that is relevant to the function 
to be fulfilled, we may not disregard anything which is 
relevant to the liberty of others to fulfil their functions. 
It is in ihe conflict of benevolence and justice that we 
find some of the most striking instances of the logic of 
sentiments. This will concern us later. The importance 
of justice can hardly be over-rated. It is the foundation 
for all the social virtues. If we think of it as belonging 
to the head rather than the heart, we should remember 
that it is that which makes the exercise of benevolence 
possible. Unless we valued persons qua persons, there 
could not be any disposition to seek their good. The 
schoolboy who styled his headmaster a ' just beast ' paid 
him the highest tribute. It is the excellence of character 
one would place first in estimating the qualities desirable 
in a person holding any administrative office. 


(/) Conflict of ' other-regarding ' and ' self -regarding ' 
duties involves the fourth cardinal virtue, temperance, 
or better, self-control. As benevolence concerns the 
good of others, so self-control concerns the good of the 
agent. We can only fulfil the moral law or realize the 
ends of the ideal self by carrying out certain obligations. 
We have to do this and this, or, as we said, ' Be this and 
this '. At times the lives and interests of others may 
bulk too large on our horizon and a conflict may arise 
between our duty to them and our duty to ourselves. 
We may realize that by promoting the well-being of 
some particular person or group of persons we may be 
shaping our own lives by principles which we should 
otherwise reject. It is difficult to break off an inter- 
course which threatens to warp our moral standards 
when the intimacy presents itself as essential for the 
good of the friend. We may realize that if we lessen the 
intimacy the other person may relapse into bad habits 
which by association with us he has partially overcome, 
Or we may realize that our withdrawal will throw the 
other person into the society of associates whose influence 
is bad. Yet we may know that the intercourse itself 
hinders our own moral development, rendering us less 
clearsighted in distinguishing good from evil and under- 
mining our self-respect. Often a third person can 
estimate the balance of claims more justly than either 
of the persons concerned. The one who seems to lean 
on the other is claiming too much and is doing so at the 
expense of his own character. The apparent gain in 
better habits has to be weighed against loss of independ- 
ence in judgment. The seeming relapse into old ways 
and intercourse with old associates may have a com- 
pensating gain in realization of responsibility. 

The physical weakness and dependence of a patient on 
a nurse may easily lead to a mental dependence. More 
may be demanded by the patient and more yielded by 


the nurse than is consonant with the self-respect of either. 
Unwise confidences are given, calls upon sympathy made 
and responded to, which later may be an embarrassment 
to each. It is difficult for a nurse to maintain a certain 
detachment which will check an outpouring of personal 
grievances and griefs while preserving the patient's good- 
will. If justice is based on respect for persons the nurse 
owes justice to herself. She has to maintain respect for 
her own personality both in herself and in others. She 
cannot allow others to abuse the relation of service by 
breaking down the reserve which is essential for the 
development of personality. When the relation of 
patient and nurse is used as a basis for personal relations 
between a man and a woman which have no place inside 
the hospital or sick-room, it is clear that each is infringing 
on the social rights of the other. The nurse as nurse 
must place the claims of self-respect above any claim to 
indulgence to which the patient as patient is entitled, 
when the patient himself steps outside the only relation- 
ship within which he has a claim to her consideration. 
The difficulty which may confront any woman in her 
social relations with a man who stands in some official 
position towards her is particularly acute for the nurse. 
She has to distinguish between the lack of self-control 
that may be forgiven in the patient and the trading on 
professional relations which cannot be forgiven in the 

Another direction in which the nurse is called upon to 
maintain respect for her own person is in the matter of 
gifts. Gratitude is a natural emotion in a patient who 
owes much to the devoted service of a nurse. That he 
or she should wish to make some return for such service 
is right and proper, so long as the return made does not 
trespass on the personal rights of the nurse. To be 
offered a gift out of all proportion to the services ren- 
dered is embarrassing. The gift qua gift calls for 


acknowledgment, but the gift as an expression of the 
patient's gratitude is humiliating in that it fails to 
recognize what was done as service in the fulfilment of 
professional duties. It treats as a personal favour much 
that is impersonal in character. When further the gift 
is recognized as symbolizing not so much the patient's 
gratitude as the patient's purchasing power to future 
services, the problem of refusing it or accepting it 
becomes more difficult. The claim over her personality 
which the acceptance may seem to imply calls for 
repudiation ; the gift qua gift calls for acknowledgment. 
It is easy for a gift either by its character or by the 
manner of its giving to be an insult. To give, even as 
the expression of gratitude for services received, is a 
privilege and it can only rightly be exercised within the 
relation wherein the services were rendered. Embarrass- 
ing gifts and favours call for the exercise of great self- 
control in the manner of their acceptance or rejection in 
order that the integrity of personal rights may be pre- 
served. The relation between giver and receiver must 
be such as to warrant a mutual exchange of rights and 
obligations. It is only to one to whom one can surrender 
a right and be under an obligation without loss of self- 
control that gratitude can be expressed, and it is only 
from such a one that gratitude can be received. 


We have pointed out when dealing with conflicting 
duties that we were not considering the conflict between 
a line of conduct recognized as a duty and a line of 
conduct which was in agreement with some particular 
desire. It may be useful to examine the kind of conflict 
that does arise between a duty and some desire that has 
behind it the weight of a sentiment. It is a conflict 
that often simulates the form of a conflict between duties. 


It is with the duties covered by the Greek conception of 
Temperance or to put it generally, duties of self-control 
that such conflicts most frequently occur. The senti- 
ment of love or of hate brings about a duel between the 
self of the sentiment and the rational self that accepts 
the moral judgment formulated in the duty. The self 
that loves or hates is moved by the values which belong 
to that sentiment. The conceptions of value character- 
izing the sentiment may be at war with the ethical values 
prescribed by moral law or, to use the other phraseology, 
accepted by reason as desirable for a moral Self. In 
conflicts of this type we can echo the Latin saying, 
' Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor '. Plato and 
Aristotle never clearly recognized the type of conflict we 
are here studying. Since they regarded the good as the 
desirable, recognition of any end as ' good ' was for them 
a sufficient motive for action. They thus attributed all 
moral failure to ignorance of, or blindness to, the 
character of the good. Although metaphorically we can 
call moral failure ' blindness ', such failure is not always 
due to ignorance in the common acceptance of the term, 
lack of knowledge. In conflict we have to reckon with 
the thoughts and logic of a sentiment as well as with 
its emotions. Every sentiment supplies ' grounds ' or 
reasons for the ends it pursues. We have no difficulty 
in finding arguments in support of the aim we strive to 
achieve for the sake of some beloved person. In moral 
conflict it is often such an end which has to be con- 
fronted with the end of a duty, and it is the reflective 
comparison of the two ends which is difficult. 

We have said that the moral judgment has the 
character of universality. We believe ' " that what I 
judge to be right " or " what ought to be " must, unless 
I am in error, be thought to be so by all rational beings 
who judge truly of the matter '. 1 The situation may be 
1 Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics, book I, chapter III, 3. 


concrete, specific, but the moral judgment relative to the 
situation may not be relative to the individual judging. 
Now the judgment of a sentiment may be, and fre- 
quently is, relative to the sentiment itself. It is in 
matters that touch us deeply that the conflict between 
the end of a sentiment and a duty is likely to arise. 
Unless there is a clear realization of accepted duties and 
virtues and the grounds therefor, together with a 
steadfast determination to bring moral questions to the 
bar of reason, self-control in the highest sense will be 
replaced by the pseudo self-control of a single sentiment. 
In social relations between men and women the desire of 
a love or hate sentiment may paralyse the motives that 
lie behind temperance. Knowledge alone, as the Latin 
saying points out, is powerless to combat the desire of a 
sentiment whose logic is in opposition to the moral 
judgment. Sins against chastity on the part of doctors, 
medical students or nurses cannot be described as sins of 
4 ignorance '. Sentiment must be met by sentiment. 
It is true that love of right for right's sake, an intuitive 
sense for, and love of, moral beauty are not sentiments 
that we can attain to in a day. But it will suffice for 
moral progress if we can form any sentiment capable of 
supplying grounds for action in conformity with the 
duties and virtues recognized by the moral judgment. 

Although reference has been made to temperance 
exhibited as chastity it is obvious that the same conflict 
between a desire backed by a sentiment and a duty or 
virtue will arise in other directions. Self-love, love of 
power, love of money, hatred of trouble (of ' making a 
fuss'), hatred of opposition, hatred of change each 
sentiment can supply desires which conflict with the 
dictates of the moral judgment and can furnish as 
grounds for its ends reasons which may wear the guise 
of moral arguments. 



It is from the defeat of duty by sentiment that an 
individual experiences the greatest poignancy of remorse. 
This emotion can only arise as a consequence of self- 
condemnation. The individual recognizes that he has 
failed to obey a moral imperative and that the grounds 
of failure lie in himself. There may be remorse when 
some impulsive action usurps the place of deliberate 
choice. ' I ought to have thought ', ' I ought to have 
realized ' are cries which reflect self-condemnation. But 
bitterer by far is the remorse which follows on the 
acknowledgment that in spite of our knowledge of the 
better we chose the worse. We recognize then the logic 
of the sentiment and declare it fallacious, and just 
because the sentiment is an aspect of self the pain of 
self-condemnation is great. We may deplore the occur- 
rence of unforeseen consequences, be ashamed of 
impetuosity and impatience, but the recognition that 
we have yielded to temptation is something deeper. It 
is the consciousness of sin, of having fallen short of our 
own conception of moral law. This is the great differ- 
ence between ' shame ' and ' remorse '. Shame may arise 
from awareness of the condemnation of others ; we may 
perhaps passively acquiesce in their judgment, we may 
perhaps question it. But in remorse self-condemnation 
is all that weighs with us. We may be quite indifferent 
to what others think of us. Their exoneration or their 
condemnation does not touch the emotion. Shame may 
accompany remorse, since it is one aspect of self- 
condemnation. In remorse there is not only shame and 
the pain of failure, but the burning desire to refashion 
the past. The sense of guilt is not enough to constitute 
remorse, there must be penitence. There is the desire to 
bring again the self that chose the wrong into relation 
with tfce self that recognized the right. The first steps 


that follow knowledge of wrongdoing may be efforts at 
self-justification, excuses, explanations. These have 
their worth as indicating a consciousness of sin, but in 
themselves they do not manifest the desire for repara- 
tion and atonement. The fuller expression of self- 
condemnation brings remorse and with it this desire to 
undo or remake the past. 

Punishment can be considered in relation to remorse. 
We have seen that for Bentham and the Hedonistic 
School the purpose of punishment was twofold. It was 
to act as a deterrent and to contribute to the reformation 
of the criminal. It served to readjust his scale of values. 
From the point of view of self-condemnation punishment 
is reparation. It is the just penalty incurred for the 
breach of moral law, it is the consequence of failure in 
realizing a higher end. Remorse and penitence will 
regard punishment as the logical outcome of short- 
coming. This is the conception which underlies penance. 
Punishment as administered by the State makes use of 
all three conceptions. The arbitrary ' forty-shilling fine ' 
is an example of a deterrent punishment. Consignment 
to a Borstal institution is reformatory punishment. 
Exaction of compensation and damages exemplifies the 
notion of reparation and retribution. 

Just as the yielding to temptation furnishes the occa- 
sion for remorse, so does the triumph of duty over a 
desire backed by a sentiment furnish the occasion for 
merit. The greater the temptation overcome the 
greater the personal merit of the agent. We are using 
the term here with reference to character, not with 
reference to desert or reward. From the point of view 
of moral progress there may be more merit in a sinner's 
resistance to temptation than in a saint's. ' For I 
know how far high failure overleaps the bounds of low 
successes '. It is the inner drama of struggle, not the 
tale of good works, that reveals the merit of an agent. 



(a) We have recognized the problem of balancing self- 
regarding and other-regarding duties. This difficulty 
lies at the bottom of many problems of community life. 
In trying to reach ' the mean ', the social unit within 
which the adjustment has to be made must be taken 
into account. We may begin by asking whether self- 
sacrifice is an excellence in and for itself. It is a form 
of self-control, an attitude of mind which is ready to 
forgo a lower for a higher good, to yield up a particular 
desire for the sake of a duty. It is an attitude of mind 
which is praised, and rightly so, for the willingness to 
forgo a lower for a higher is a test of love of the good, 
of obedience to the moral law. As ordinarily understood 
self-sacrifice means a readiness to forgo our own good 
for another's. The self that is to sacrifice its ends is, of 
course, not the moral Self ; it is the particular individual 
Brown or Jones. Self-sacrifice does not always carry 
the implication that the good given up is lower or less 
than the good pursued. Is self-sacrifice an excellence 
unless this is the case ? Comparison of goods is difficult. 
Unless we accept the hedonic calculus whereby all good 
is measurable in terms of pleasure, goods are incom- 
mensurable. We have to consider them as ends for a 
moral Self. The relationship existing between A who 
gives up and B who benefits must be taken into account 
in any attempt to answer the question. Self-sacrifice 
that would be irrational between strangers may be 
universally acclaimed when the persons involved are 
mother and child. Consider the case of a man X who 
finds himself in a Swiss mountain hotel with another 
guest Y, who is taken ill. That X should give up a 
much-needed holiday by remaining shut up in the hotel 
with an invalid who is an entire stranger to him, may 
seem irrational self-sacrifice. At the end of his holiday 


he will return to his work more fagged out than when 
he left it, and it is easy to see that his self-sacrifice for 
the stranger may end in injury to his fellow-workers. 
Change the situation a little by saying that the sick man 
was a fellow-countryman, that he was unable to speak 
to, or to understand, the hotel staff, and that the hotel 
was more or less isolated, outside help being unavailable. 
Factors come in that give the sick man a claim on the 
fellow-traveller. There is a bond between them that 
both would recognize and this brings X's good and 
Y's good into a common unit. It is not as Y but as a 
fellow-countryman that Y appeals to X. Y may be 
rather an unpleasant person in himself ; it is in virtue 
of something beyond himself that he has a claim on X. 
X's self-sacrifice is not merely a surrender of a personal 
end for the good of another individual, but the surrender 
of a personal end in virtue of a recognized relation in 
order to promote the well-being of the whole which that 
relation represents. Similarly within a family one 
member may sacrifice his or her good to the good of 
another member. It may be in itself the sacrifice of a 
greater to a lesser good, judged from the standpoint of 
the spectator. But the sacrifice is not merely a sacrifice 
to this particular brother or sister, it is rather a sacrifice 
of an individual's end in order to preserve the strength 
of family ties, such ties being seen as important for the 
well-being of the community and essential for the 
realization of the ends of the moral Self. It is only when 
it is thus interpreted that self-sacrifice can be appraised. 
Having granted this, we may stress the worthlessness of 
self-sacrifice where no such good is promoted, and where 
there is no relation to justify the surrender of a higher 
or greater to a lower or lesser good. Self-sacrifice for 
sacrifice's sake is a perverted end and leads to the evils 
of self-martyrdom and vainglory. Unless the good of 
the whole is promoted, self-sacrifice on the part of an 


individual member in a community may well be wasted. 
So far as material goods are concerned, food, articles of 
comfort, some individuals may gain by the self-sacrifice 
of others while the good of the whole is unaffected. If 
we consider goods of the soul it is easy to see that the 
community will gain or lose by the self-sacrifice of any 
member in so far as this improves or damages the 
character of others. Where self-sacrifice encourages 
selfishness in others, community life is injured ; where it 
fosters devotion to the claims of the community it will 
promote the general well-being. 

(b) As member of an organization each person has 
rights and obligations. To recognize the right of others 
to pursue their own ends so long as they do not fail in 
their obligations often demands from us much forbear- 
ance. The ends pursued may seem so foolish and so 
inferior to the ends we should desire them to seek. We 
saw that the basis of justice was recognition of the value 
of persons and it is the sanctity of personality that has 
to be remembered in living and let live. ' To suffer 
fools gladly ' is a hard lesson, but so long as the fool does 
not fail in his obligations we have no case against him. 
Even the fool has rights. Toleration, however, is no 
justification for servility. If aggressiveness is an 
extreme, so too is servility. In common speech meek- 
ness has come to connote lack of spirit and the beatitude, 
' Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth ', 
is not one which those who live in a community echo 
with any conviction. The word used in the Greek might 
be translated as ' gentle '. It is interesting to notice 
that it is the same word which is used by Aristotle for 
the 'mean state having as its object-matter anger'. 
' The excess may be called an over-aptness to anger. . . . 
The notion represented by the term gentle is the being 
imperturbable, and not being led away by passion, but 
being angry in that manner and at those things, and for 


that length of time which Reason may direct. ' Aristotle 
points out that ' gentleness ' is apt to lean towards the 
defect, incapacity for anger, and of this he says, ' To bear 
scurrility in one's person or patiently see one's friends 
suffer it, is a slavish thing/ * What the Greek concep- 
tion of gentleness did not include but what the virtue of 
the beatitude must include, is a readiness to forgive. 
Community life cannot flourish unless there is a readiness 
on the part of the members who constitute it to forgive 
trespasses on rights and failures in obligations. There 
is no place in an organized community for revenge and 
petty spite against offenders. In so far as these are 
present the individuals exercising them place them- 
selves outside the whole. Punishment and penalties 
for offences should only come through the authority 
constituted by the community. 

(c) Straightforward dealing in the matter of goods 
or in the matter of ideas involves many conflicts between 
motives of self-interest and motives of benevolence. The 
virtues involved would fall within the old Greek concep- 
tion of Justice. Property is one of the institutions of 
present-day society. It is a basis for contract and 
brings with it duties of honesty and veracity. Where 
ownership is absolute and individual the rights and 
obligations connected with it are clearer than where 
ownership is partly communal. Theft of money is 
recognized clearly as what it is, dishonesty. Thefts of 
personal possessions, such as articles of clothing, books, 
ornaments, usually present no ethical problems. Such 
infringements of the rights of the individual are clear. 
To participate in the fruits of another's labours, even to 
the exclusion of his own enjoyment in them, is not so 
widely recognized as ' unjust '. In essence it is theft. 
It is easy in community life to take an unfair advantage 
of the work done by others. This may occur in relation 
1 Ethics, book IV, v. 


to purely personal labour, but it is more likely to occur 
in relation to labours performed for the community as a 
whole. It is easy for individuals to benefit by the labours 
of others without contributing their share to the tasks 
that benefit all. Shirking of time on duty, a readiness 
to pass work on to others, an unwillingness to exchange 
times, or to pay back in work the work undertaken by 
others, are all sins against justice. 

(d) The duty of veracity rests on justice and benevo- 
lence and this should lead us to recognize dishonesty in 
words. To twist the words of another person knowingly 
so as to give them a meaning which the original words 
did not bear and which we recognize they were not 
intended to bear, is dishonesty. We rob the person of 
his own intended meaning and put another in its place. 
Usually we do more than this ; we damage his relation 
to some one else, we infringe rights. Scandal or tale- 
bearing is an even more direct form of theft. We may 
destroy reputation, change social relations, even break 
down friendships, by an unfaithful description of 
another's behaviour. With the best will in the world it 
is difficult to be accurate in a description of what another 
person did or in a report of what he said. It is difficult 
to discriminate between what we actually observed or 
heard and the interpretation we put on what we observed 
or heard. As we know from the psychology of sense- 
perception we are always reading meaning into the data 
of sense. We are always reading in what we think the 
person is intending to do or intending to say. Thus if 
we are prejudiced, if we are convinced that so-and-so 
had some sinister purpose, we see in his behaviour 
features which an unprejudiced observer would never 
see. We interpret his words with a meaning which the 
bare words themselves did not convey. Respect for 
personality requires us to be very careful in description 
and to err rather on the side of charity than on the side 


of malice. Caution in accepting any report not based 
on direct observation is a corollary from this. Inac- 
curacies are multiplied as reports go from person to 
person. Omissions and additions render the descrip- 
tion less and less faithful to fact. 

The conditions of such community life as that of a 
hospital staff or nursing-home association are often 
monotonous, there is a staleness and a weariness of 
routine. One craves something new, something exciting, 
and thus any rumour which offers an interest outside 
the regular course of events, is seized on eagerly. The 
psychological conditions of suggestion explain how 
exaggeration and distortion creep into a report and how 
a rumour spreads. There is a rumour that ABC was 
seen coming in through a window after 12 o'clock ; that 
she had been out without leave ; that a man helped her 
to climb up the window, etc. The foundation for it 
all is that ABC leant from a window, and fished for a 
sponge that had fallen to the ground from the sill where 
it had been set to dry. Hobbies and outside interests 
serve as a corrective to the staleness of mind that finds 
an interest in personalities and scandal. 

(e) We have spoken of the conflict that occurs when 
loyalty to principles is opposed to loyalty to authority ; 
such a conflict demands wisdom and moral courage for 
its solution. Wisdom and moral courage are called for 
in like manner when an individual finds it a duty to 
resist what the majority of the community accept. It 
may be that it is the duty of resisting some practice 
which the majority follow, it may be it is the duty of 
resisting some opinion that the majority agree in. To 
acquiesce would probably be easy ; to stand out, and still 
more to act or speak in opposition, is difficult. Here as 
in other cases the individual needs to be very sure that 
she is taking her stand on moral principles and not on 
personal likes and dislikes, and also that the good of 


the community is at stake. It is not always easy to see 
clearly when toleration and respect for the opinion of 
others is called for, and when resistance is required. 
Supposing this to be clear, then in addition to moral 
courage we need wisdom. Wisdom to resist in the right 
way. There is need for that subtle understanding of 
people and situations which we label ' tact '. Only by 
wisdom may we hope to achieve our aim : ' to overcome 
evil with good '. If we lack wisdom, so far from pro- 
moting the well-being of the community we may some- 
times wonder whether after all we have not been ' over- 
come of evil '. We have been overcome, not perhaps of 
the particular evil we set out to resist, but of the evil of 
enmity and strife. Planting thorn hedges will not help 
either ourselves or others to keep to the straight path of 



WHAT is implied by the term ' vocation ' ? We 
recognize that there is something in vocation 
which is over and above professional training 
and professional skill. It is possible for a person to be 
highly trained and skilful without having any vocation 
for the profession he follows. Work only has the 
character of vocation when it awakens a fundamental 
response in the worker. The worker is called by the 
work, and just in virtue of this fact he is also realized or 
fulfilled by the work ; the work responds to a need in him. 
Both nursing and social work may be vocations, the 
latter more rarely than the former. If we look at the 
native endowment of an individual and ask which 
instinctive impulses can be the source of a need which 
the work of nursing fulfils, we shall see that it appeals 
to the parental instinct. We referred in the introduc- 
tion to the intimacy of the relation between nurse and 
patient and to its one-sided dependence. It is in this 
that it resembles the relation of mother to child. The 
work of nursing gives scope for the group of emotions 
pity, sorrow, sympathy, gratitude, each of which may 
be coloured by ' tenderness '. These are emotions 
characteristic of the relation between parent and child. 
The satisfaction of personal service, of ministering to the 
patient's well-being, the joy of seeing progress as a result 
of such service is in its essence the satisfaction of the 
garental instinct. To this, of course, is added the satis- 
faction which arises from knowledge and training, the 
satisfaction of carrying out a skilled piece of work. 
There is professional pleasure in any task well done. 



Such professional skill and pleasure, however, will not 
render the work in question a vocation. A man might 
be a successful and clever engineer without ever finding 
in his work the fulfilment of a fundamental need. Many 
men follow professions, even more follow occupations, 
because of some derived or secondary interest. The 
work offers a livelihood, certain amenities, a chance of 
making a name, etc., but is not a vocation. 

The appeal of social work is complex. The parental 
instinct may play a part in it, but more important is 
fhe interest in one's fellow-creatures. This interest is 
possibly a form of the gregarious instinct. Certain it is 
that there arises in some men and some women a passion 
for humanity. This love sentiment like the parental 
instinct is in close association with the tender emotions, 
sympathy, pity. It finds satisfaction in personal ser- 
vice. Throughout the history of civilization there have 
been men and women who have found their deepest 
needs satisfied in serving their fellow-men. The service 
has taken different directions, ministering to the poor, 
ministering to the sick, to those in misfortune, to the 
young. Looked at thus, nursing is a special direction 
of social work. It is perhaps in virtue of its specialized 
character that it appeals to many as a vocation. In 
social work the relation of the worker to ' cases ' is not 
that of parent to child and the satisfaction derived from 
social service lacks the specific character present in 
ministration to the sick. In both, however, the demand 
is for ' personal ' service and it is in virtue of this call 
that both may be vocations. 

Because the call is for ' personal ' service both voca- 
tions make great demands on personality and character. 
We may ask, then, What sort of personality and what 
qualities of character should be possessed by individuals 
following these vocations? Let us recognize frankly 
that many persons will take up both kinds of work who 


have no call whatever. They train to become a nurse 
or to undertake some form of social work without any 
strong desire to do so. They must do something, they 
do not want to do x or to do y, and so by a method 
of elimination they arrive at nursing or social service 
training. Some are attracted to nursing because the 
training will bring them into the society of other people 
of their own age. There is also the association with 
members of the other sex ; the life promises to be a 
sociable one and it has a certain romantic glamour, 
nurses have a special place in the community. Social 
work offers less attraction on either of the above grounds, 
but against this may be set the fact that the training 
demanded is shorter and less strenuous. Whatever may 
be the motive with which the novice enters upon her 
training, there is nothing in it to preclude a recognition 
of vocation coming later. As the work itself becomes 
known it may cast its spell on the learner. 

To arrive at some idea of the personal traits desirable 
we may turn to features of native endowment and con- 
sider them as a basis for training. Unfortunately our 
knowledge of temperament is still very indefinite. We 
may define temperament as ' that part of the innate 
constitution of the mind which is different in different 
men so far as this refers to their feelings and perhaps 
also to their wills '.* Understood in this sense, tempera- 
ment is something that lies behind the emotions and 
instincts as part of our native endowment as human 
beings. It will be temperament which will serve to 
determine the degree to which, and the readiness with 
which, we experience our native emotions and instinc- 
tive impulses. If we remember Aristotle's advice for 
arriving at the mean, viz. to keep away from the extreme 
which is more contrary than the other to the mean and 
to take into consideration our own natural bias, which 
1 Shand, The Foundations of Character, chapter XIII. 


varies in each man's case l we shall recognize that, did 
we possess it, a knowledge of temperament would be of 
value for character-building. It has been held from 
early times that a given temperament is accompanied 
by certain physical characteristics of body, and it may 
be that further work on biochemistry, in particular work 
on the ductless glands, will enable us to recognize 
physical and temperamental types. Work along these 
lines has already been done by Kretschmer. 2 

The old classical doctrine of four temperaments has a 
certain rough and ready value. It is perhaps most 
satisfactory in its opposition of the Sanguine and the 
Bilious or Melancholic temperaments. The person of 
sanguine temperament is described as cheerful, as one 
who experiences joy readily, who is an optimist, but 
dwells on the surface of things and is thus not tenacious 
of purpose. We recognize joy as one of the great influ- 
ences in building up love sentiments. Through his 
susceptibility to joy the sanguine person's sentiments 
will be numerous rather than deep-rooted. The Bilious 
or Melancholic on the other hand experiences his emo- 
tions less readily but more profoundly. He is regarded 
as tenacious of purpose, inflexible. He is ambitious and 
prone to experience sorrow. This will render his love 
sentiments deeper than those of the sanguine person. 

The next pair of temperamental types, the Choleric 
and Phlegmatic, are often contrasted as quick and slow 
in the movement of ideas as well as in emotional response. 
The Choleric man as the name denotes is regarded as 
prone to anger. He is also regarded as sensitive to 
emotional situations in general, vivacious and quick- 
witted. The Phlegmatic is slow to feel emotion, slothful 
and of dull wits. Different authors describe the detailed 
characteristics differently. While admitting these dis- 
crepancies we may claim that broadly speaking the four 

* Cf. Ethics, book II, ix. a Physique and Character. 


types do present us with recognizable characteristics, 
found with a certain degree of constancy. It is 
impossible to say that any one temperament is better 
fitted for the vocation of nursing than another. From 
the patient's point of view a ' sanguine ' nurse might 
be the most desirable, provided that the patient's case 
did not call for long and persistent perseverance of treat- 
ment. For this the ' bilious ' nurse would be more 
suited. Neither the Choleric nor the Phlegmatic 
temperaments seem at first sight to have much to com- 
mend them. A phlegmatic temperament may be less 
wearing to the nurse herself than the nervous excitable 
temperament of the choleric person. Such a person 
often carries on activities beyond the due limit of his 
physical powers, is apt, as we say, ' to live on his nerves '. 
For the trials of social work the phlegmatic or the 
sanguine temperament might be claimed as essential. 
Self-knowledge of temperamental tendencies may be 
helpful to the individual, but one cannot say more with 
our present inadequate knowledge. 

In relation to conation we may consider the two types 
distinguished by Professor James. The explosive type 
and the obstructed type. The explosive type is impulsive, 
all the instinctive urges are experienced strongly. As 
James puts it there is exaggerated impulsion. This 
often goes with great emotionality. But explosiveness 
may also be due to lack of restraint, weakness in inhibi- 
tion. The obstructive type is weak in the impulsive 
drive of instincts. Inhibition is strong, and is reinforced 
when training and reasoning introduce motives for 
deliberation. The former type is more likely to develop 
into the prompt and ready, the latter into the slow, 
patient and cautious actor. It is perhaps more difficult 
by training to make good the lack of impulsive drive in 
the obstructed type than to curb the too-ready action 
of the explosive type. 


Allied to a classification of temperaments, but wider 
in range, is the classification of types given by Professor 
Jung. Professor Jung recognizes two great types, the 
extravert and the introvert. These represent two 
typical general attitudes of an individual subject to his 
world. The way the individual takes in the sense facts 
of his environment, the way he feels towards them and 
the way he reasons about them are all concerned in 
Jung's typical attitudes. The extravert stresses the 
character of the object, thing or person, his own sub- 
jective processes in relation to it are of secondary impor- 
tance. The introvert finds his interest in subjective 
processes, the object known or felt or thought about 
is of secondary importance. ' Just as Darwin might 
possibly represent the normal extraverted type, so we 
might point to Kant as a counter-example of the normal 
introverted thinking type. The former speaks with 
facts ; the latter appeals to the subjective factor. 
Darwin ranges over the wide fields of objective facts, 
while Kant restricts himself to a critique of knowledge 
in general/ l ' Feeling in the extraverted attitude is 
orientated by objective data. ... It agrees with 
objective values. . . . The personality appears to be 
adjusted in relation to objective conditions. . . . No- 
where is this more clearly revealed than in the so-called 
" love-choice " ; the " suitable " man is loved, not 
another one ; he is suitable not so much because he 
fully accords with the fundamental character of the 
woman . , . but because he meticulously corresponds 
in standing, age, capacity, height, and family respecta- 
bility with every reasonable requirement.' 2 ' Intro- 
verted feeling is determined principally by the sub- 
jective factor. ... It strives after an inner intensity, 
to which at most objects contribute only an accessory 

1 Jung, Psychological Types, p. 484. 
8 Ibid., pp. 448, 449. 


stimulus. The depths of this feeling can only be 
divined they can never be clearly comprehended/ l 

This is obviously a classification which will cover the 
whole of mental life, and although it may have its basis 
in native endowment it is also largely influenced by 
training. It may be worth discovering whether one is 
prone to be an introvert or an extravert in order to 
correct bias, but the classification is not very clear-cut 
and allows of cross-divisions according to the aspect of 
life considered. On the whole it may seem that the 
extravert type is more likely to prove efficient both in 
social work and in nursing. The patient and his 
symptoms are the objects to which the nurse directs her 
interest. Some interpretation of his inner experiences, 
however, in terms of her own mental life may be salutary 
for her understanding of his condition. Introversion is, 
therefore, needed to a certain degree. In social work 
there is every call to be interested in the affairs of others. 
It is their interests, their difficulties, their needs which 
have first claim on attention. But without imagination 
based on personal experience there will be a lack of 
sympathy and of understanding. Introversion has its 
function here also but the dominant attitude will be that 
of the extravert. 

Leaving temperament and type aside we may turn to 
the instinctive endowment in which we all share, and 
consider what features it presents that are of special 
value and what features are likely to require repression 
by training. We may follow for this purpose Professor 
Drever's list of specific instincts and emotions, using 
them as a clue to what we described as primitive values. 
We may take first situations arousing fear and disgust. 
A nurse has to learn to repress any instinctive shrinking 
from the sight of pain and suffering and from the 
spectacle of death. She must overcome fear. Similarly 
* Jung, Psychological Types, pp. 489, 49<>. 


she must learn to repress shrinking or repulsion at 
sights and situations which the ordinary man or woman 
finds disgusting. She has to overcome nausea, face dirt, 
bad smells, and conquer loathing. To many the sight 
and smell of blood must be both a source of fear and of 
disgust. The situation presented by the first days in 
an operating theatre must be such as to force the nurse 
to seek aid in derived values scientific interest, service, 
professional pride. In social work also there is need to 
repress fear and disgust, fear of opposition, rudeness, 
personal abuse, disgust at dirt and squalor, frowzy 
rooms, and frowzy persons. But whereas the nurse has 
the satisfaction of making personal war on dirt, the 
social worker may have to tolerate it and carry on. 

The situations which Professor Drever regards as 
calling forth curiosity and pugnacity are not perhaps 
more frequent in social work or in nursing than in any 
other walk of life. Neither the nurse nor social worker 
needs to stimulate or repress her curiosity and pugnacity 
more than her sisters carrying on a different calling. 
The social relations of her work do, however, make 
special demands on what Drever terms ' self-abasement J 
and ' self-display '. The discipline of a hospital and the 
requirement of unquestioning obedience in the early 
years of training must make great demands on self- 
abasement and call for much repression of self-display. 
To be blamed for what is not one's own fault, to accept 
criticism for an action done for a good reason without 
explaining that reason, to stand aside and refrain from 
doing what one is capable of doing and itching to do, 
must need much training in control. To learn to be just 
a cog in the wheel of the machine and to put the concerns 
of the machine before the concerns of self is to learn the 
same lesson as the soldier. But on the other hand 
there is the complementary training. One has to learn 
to take responsibility, to exercise control over others, 


and here it is self-abasement or shrinking that has to 
be repressed and positive self-feeling or self-display 
encouraged. One may not take shelter behind some 
dominating personality, one may not be ' self-conscious ' 
to the point of inefficiency. Extremes in either of the 
two emotional attitudes are detrimental to a nurse's 
work. 'Bossiness' is as undesirable as a shame-faced 
diffidence. This holds not only of social relations within 
the hospital staff but also of relations between nurse and 
patient. No patient wants to be nursed by some one 
who seems to be apologizing for her existence, and no 
patient welcomes the nurse who acts like a dragoon. 
There is further a special need for the cultivation of 
what can be termed ' sociality \ the give-and-take 
attitude. The nurse needs to cultivate the ' clubbable ' 
spirit. She needs it in her relations to fellow-nurses and 
she needs it in her relation to her patient. 

We have said that the relation between nurse and 
patient resembled that between parent and child. The 
recognition of the similarity in the relationship must not 
lead one to regard the relation between mother and 
child as the standard by which to model a nurse's 
behaviour to her patient. Such a conception leads to 
' sentimentality '. A nurse gives service to her patient 
and her relation to the patient need not be entirely 
uncoloured by tenderness. The emotions : pity, sym- 
pathy, and sorrow, like gratitude, are all tinged with 
that emotional character of ' tenderness ' which reaches 
its fullest expression in ' love ' when this term is used 
for an emotion, not for a sentiment. The nurse has 
occasion for pity, sympathy and sorrow. It is, however, 
impossible for her to be as concerned with the well-being 
of the patient as a devoted mother is with the well- 
being of her child. A nurse would hinder her own 
efficiency if she allowed her own personality to be so far 
merged with that of her patient. To cany devotion to 


such a pitch would be physically and mentally exhaust- 
ing. This brings up the wider question of sympathy. 
How far should a nurse cultivate ' feeling with ' her 
patients ? Does she for her own well-being and self- 
control require to preserve a hard-heartedness which 
will allow her to be unmoved however profoundly 
her patients are moved by emotions ? One may an- 
swer that sympathy must never become empathy. In 
Aesthetics ' empathy ' means putting our own feelings 
into the object contemplated, e.g. reading motion into 
the curve of a line. There is a danger that understanding 
the situation in which another finds himself, we shall 
read into that situation not his feeling but our own. It 
is one thing for a nurse to know and be moved by the 
emotion of her patient, but it is another for her to 
experience an emotion herself and project that emotion 
into the situation. She will thereby have (a) the reflec- 
tion of the patient's emotion, and (b) a further emotion, 
probably of like character to his, but based on the 
situation as she sees it and projected into the situation. 
Emotionality in this sense is to be avoided. 

Social work makes great claims on the personality of 
the worker. The complementary instinctive tendencies 
self-abasement or shrinking and self-display or 
mastery will be important in her training. There 
is nothing in this training quite equivalent to the 
discipline of a hospital, but there is working under 
orders, waiting on the convenience of officials, and on 
the findings of committees, putting up with delay, 
making the best of inadequate information. In all this 
there is inhibition of self-assertion ; the worker learns to 
put the work first and her own feelings and activities 
second. Like the nurse she has to learn to take responsi- 
bility, and to stand on her own feet. She has to hold 
her own both with those among whom she works and 
with the society or council for whom she works. She 


has less to help her to attain to self-confidence than the 
nurse. Her work is not confined to one institution with 
recognized traditions. Her status is marked by no 
badge or uniform. There is nothing in her working 
conditions to ensure prestige. She has to make her way 
with those among whom she works by her personal 
qualities, unaided by any backing from the social 
environment of colleagues. Like the nurse she must 
avoid a too masterful attitude ; indeed she will have less 
opportunity than a nurse to exercise masterfulness. If 
she is to help those among whom she works she must on 
the one hand overcome any tendency to an overbearing 
manner, intolerance of the opinions of others, and on 
the other hand she must fight any tendency to shrink 
away at a rebuff and to accept failure as inevitable. 
She, too, needs the attitude of give-and-take, sociality. 
While the sympathy of a nurse is usually called out by 
physical suffering, the sympathy of a social worker must 
be available in many and diverse situations. Like the 
nurse, she has to avoid sentimentality ; her emotions 
must not overflow at every tale of woe or scene of dis- 
tress. She has to learn to discriminate between genuine 
distress and humbug, to let sympathy wait on under- 

Having considered instinctive and emotional endow- 
ment we may go on to a topic closely related to emotion, 
imagination. How far should the nurse or social worker 
cultivate an ' imaginative nature ' ? Should she be one 
who sees visions ? In everyday life we are apt to oppose 
the visionary and the practical as incompatible types. 
We think of the one as the dreamer and the other as the 
doer ; the one as finding satisfaction for their desires in 
dreams, the other as satisfying their desires by some 
action in the physical environment. So long as we keep 
to this opposition both nurse and worker would, one 
may suppose, be chosen from the class of doers rather 


than from the class of dreamers. Their work lies in 
practical performance. The antithesis, however, is not 
fundamental. It is not even applicable to the very class 
of persons contemplated by the expression ' dreamers ', 
artists. The artist must give expression to his dream, 
in words, in music, in stone, in colour. He too is a doer. 
It is imagination that introduces the touch of romance 
into the workaday world, that enables us to look beyond 
the immediate task and its accomplishment to its 
significance in a larger setting. This kind of vision 
changes humdrum work into service. Without it there 
is no vocation. Further, without some cultivation of 
imagination there can be no participation in the higher 
forms of play. There can be no appreciation of art and 
little of literature. We referred to the fostering of an 
unhealthy interest in personalities as one of the dangers 
of a monotonous routine life ; a cultivated imagination 
safeguards the individual from this by opening the door 
to wider interests and enabling her to get outside the 
immediate environment. The imagination that is 
feared by those responsible for the training of nurses or 
workers is the untrained imagination that wanders 
hither and thither at the bidding of a passing emotion, 
whose only goal is the satisfaction of an emotional need. 
The severely practical may urge the use of imagination 
solely in the service of ' practical ' ends, purposes whose 
utility for the material needs of the work is obvious. 
Such persons would wage war on all cultivation of 
imagination which strays beyond the useful, as they 
conceive it. Such a condemnation of imagination may 
be the result of a limited education. The stimulus 
that the exercise of imagination gives to thought 
cannot be appreciated by those who have never culti- 
vated it in themselves. So far, then, from fearing that 
a nurse or worker with a cultivated imagination will be 
an idler, a dreamer who will fail in a practical emergency, 


we should rather expect such a person to have resources 
within herself that will lift her above boredom and 
enable her to rise to difficulties and new situations. 

e ln this connexion one can touch on habit. How far 
should habit be cultivated ? We know from psychology 
the advantages and dangers of habit formation. To 
render certain performances or ways of behaviour 
habitual is to economize effort. These performances are 
facilitated, attention is no longer required for their 
successful execution. On the other hand, the more 
habitual they become the more difficult it is to change 
them. In respect to this manner of responding to our 
world we become set, we are machines rather than 
thinking human beings. Will such automatic behaviour 
kill initiative ? There is a very real danger that it may. 
Owing to the ease of the habitual response we may 
become insensitive to change in the situation and con- 
tinue to give the old response to what is in fact a new 
demand. Lack of adaptation will bring loss of efficiency, 
until finally the ' response ' becomes not a response but 
an idle gesture. One sees this in individuals and in 
associations of individuals. An old routine is carried 
out which has lost its point and serves no purpose. In 
the individual we have what James labelled ' old 
fogyism ', in the association we have atrophy. The 
other side of the picture is found by dwelling not on the 
routine actions themselves but on the freedom afforded 
by their facilitation. There is time and energy to face 
new tasks. Regarded from this point of view habit 
formation is the foundation for initiative. New prob- 
lems can be tackled and new methods tried on the 
strength of the stabilized basis of routine action. No 
one taking up a new post would begin trying experi- 
ments and inventing new methods until she felt sure 
ground under her feet in certain directions. Even if 
she is convinced that the administration of which she is 


in charge requires overhauling from top to bottom, she 
will not try to change everything at once. Habituation 
to one set of performances will precede the initiation of 
further change. 

Both nurse and worker may be required to exercise 
the qualities of leadership. In his book Psychology and 
the Soldier, Mr. F. C. Bartlett in an acute chapter on 
' Leaders and Leadership ' distinguishes three types of 
leaders the institutional, the dominant, and the per- 
suasive. The first rely on the prestige of their office, 
and their power is in their post. They uphold the 
dignity of the office and are punctilious in preserving 
customs and privileges belonging to the group of persons 
over whom their office makes them leader. They are 
aloof from the group in virtue of their office. The 
second type lead by personality. Self-assertiveness and 
sheer capacity give this leader sway over] the group. 
' The dominant leader is never much afraid of making 
mistakes. He knows that his power resides not in what 
he does but in himself ... he is far more able than the 
institutional leader to initiate new movements and to 
bring about radical changes in his group/ * The third 
type, the persuasive leaders, lead in virtue of under- 
standing people. This type is quick to react to hints 
and suggestions. So far from being aloof from the 
group the leader is necessarily in it and of it, and is able 
to formulate and express in words what the group as a 
whole is feeling. 

There is place for each variety of leadership in nursing 
and in social work. The three types of leaders have each 
their own functions, and only the ' dominant ' and 
' persuasive ' would seem incompatible from the point of 
view of personality. An ' institutional ' leader may be 
one who has been ' dominant ' or ' persuasive ' before 
being promoted to the office which bestows leadership 
1 Bartlett, Psychology and the Soldier, p. 143. 


by rank. Such a leader should have a thorough know- 
ledge of the history and status of the group of which 
she is the chief. In any negotiations with outside bodies 
she must uphold the traditions and champion the rights 
of her own institution. Personal qualifications worthy 
of the dignity of the position are necessary. Though by 
position apart from the group, the leader must be one 
in whom the group can take pride. 

The dominant leader is probably, as Mr. Bartlett 
suggests, ' born ' rather than ' made ' by training. She 
is self-assertive with the attitude of the extravert, 
absorbed in schemes and interests, but little given to 
speculating how they strike others or to self-misgiving. 
Genuine efficiency in some one direction at least seems 
requisite in such a leader. The woman who is to lead 
by sheer personality must inspire confidence, she may 
or she may not be sociable and hail-fellow-well-met with 
those she dominates. More often she is on good terms 
with a small circle only, and her influence radiates from 
them and through them to others. She has imagination 
but may not be far-sighted. If of good character the 
dominant leader may be a great influence for good, but 
if she has no fixed principles her influence in an institu- 
tion is detrimental. What she champions to-day may 
be wholly inconsistent with what she champions next 

The ' persuasive ' leader Mr. Bartlett describes as 
more complex and subtle in nature. The woman who 
leads by understanding must be partly an introvert. 
She is not absorbed in schemes to the exclusion of the 
reaction they awaken in the persons concerned, nor is 
she self-confident. Such type of leadership requires far 
more ' vision ' than the other two. Mr. Bartlett holds 
that this type of leader, like the dominant, is * born ' 
rather than ' made '. Training, however, will do much 
in quickening sensitivity to the feeling and thoughts of 


others. The primary requisite is an interest in their 
feeling and thoughts. This should not be outside the 
capacity of any nurse or social worker. If it is, nursing 
or social work is not her right place. Training can do 
much in enabling the individual to formulate and express 
what otherwise would remain inchoate, vaguely sensed. 
Like the dominant leaders women of the persuasive type 
are powerful. Their influence is even more constant 
and general. When a situation calls for delicate hand- 
ling, when reconciliation of interests is at stake, the 
persuasive leader excels either the dominant or the 
institutional type. Mr. Bartlett regards it as a type 
that plays a greater and greater part as social life 
develops. It is certainly a type that is needed in every 
large association of civilized people, be it a hospital or 
a home or a society. Whatever the type of leadership 
for which an individual is suited by gifts and training 
or the type to which she is called by appointment, 
character is the bedrock upon which will depend the use 
she makes of it. 

In considering character we may claim generally that 
the higher the character the greater the value of the 
service which nurse or social worker can render through 
her own personality. Where there is vocation the 
nurse or worker will give of her best, and this best is 
something for which professional skill and knowledge 
is not enough. In the thoroughly trained nurse or 
worker we may take efficiency for granted. Character 
supplies that something more which makes the nurse or 
worker a power for good in the service to which she is 

If one looks at the list of excellences set forth by 
Plato and Aristotle one can recognize two virtues whereof 
full and abundant measure is required by the nurse or 
social worker. These are courage and wisdom. We 
have spoken of the inhibition of fear, fear of pain, of 


death, of rough words, but what is intended here is the 
fixed habitude of moral courage. It is the courage that 
is prepared to face whatever may come in following out 
the work one finds to do. The social worker or the 
nurse who is working outside the walls of a hospital is 
confronted with many situations that call for the 
greatest moral courage. She may have to tackle 
' difficult ' people, she may have to track down and show 
up old abuses. In much of her work she may meet 
with resistance and will need both courage and patience 
to overcome opposition. With the cultivation of 
courage should go the cultivation of wisdom. Wisdom 
is hard to define. It is not knowledge, although it pre- 
supposes knowledge ; it is rather ability to apply know- 
ledge in the right way and at the right time. It implies 
knowledge of persons as well as knowledge of some 
branch of science or general learning. Inasmuch as it 
is ability to recognize when and how to use knowledge, 
wisdom requires much experience ; for this reason we 
associate wisdom with age, and hope to grow wiser as 
we grow older. To size up a person or a situation, to 
realize what can or cannot be done, when it is useful and 
when useless to speak, demands judgment, and such 
judgment is based on much past experience. Mere 
experience will teach nothing unless there is reflection 
thereon, comparison of this and that, a noting of conse- 
quences and circumstances. No one requires wisdom 
more than the social worker who is called upon to act 
and advise upon all sorts of situations. The difference 
between her work and that of the nurse makes itself felt 
very sharply on occasion. The professional training of 
the nurse arms her for many of the situations she will 
meet both within and without a hospital. It is difficult 
to provide such an adequate preparation for one who 
is going to undertake social work. It is well-nigh 
impossible to foresee the difficulties she will have to face. 


For this reason it is all the more essential that she 
should have wisdom. The more she has reflected on 
what she has learnt both in her training and through 
her own experience, the more likely is she to deal wisely 
with new and unprecedented events. Both nurse and 
worker need to be clear about general principles, to 
have ideals, a sense of the direction in which they wish 
to go. If they have taken their general bearings well 
they will be more able to judge correctly of the signifi- 
cance of any particular episode. Wisdom will ensure a 
sense of proportion, and under the shadow thereof a 
sense of humour may flourish. Love of one's fellows 
and the desire to serve them is sweetened by a sense of 
humour. Humour is in truth the adjunct of wisdom. 

Whatever virtues the character of the nurse or social 
worker may include there is one quality which it is 
essential should run through them all and that is the 
quality of sincerity. Where there is true vocation there 
will be sincerity, and when this is lost, all sense of 
vocation is lost. 

At the present time owing to the high public estimate 
in which a nurse is held in this country certain qualities 
both in her personally and in her work are apt to be 
taken for granted. In itself this is a great tribute to 
the nursing profession. It may also be a pitfall for the 
individual nurse. So ready is the public to believe that 
she is thus and thus and that her work is thus and thus, 
that she may be too easily content with a semblance 
that satisfies public expectations but falls far short of 
reality. There is a temptation to sacrifice persons to 
things. The whole art of ministering to the sick may 
become formal, an elaborate artifice impressive to the 
mere spectator but lacking in any true spirit of service. 
The social worker is confronted with the same tempta- 
tion. Public opinion expects certain machinery and 
public bodies require reports and statistics. Figures 


showing increase in this direction and decrease in that 
direction may satisfy such demands, while in themselves 
they express nothing of the realities amid which the 
worker lives. If she is to run machinery but not herself 
be run by it, the worker must be capable of renewing 
her sense of service and of recapturing the singleness of 
heart which is essential to her calling. Neither in nurs- 
ing nor in social work is there any place for empty show. 
Sham efficiency is the curse of bureaucracy and the 
enemy of progress. For the ' good ' nurse and ' good ' 
worker esse quam videri. 



G. C. FIELD : Moral Theory : An Introduction to Ethics. 
Methuen. London. 

G.E.MooRE: Ethics. Home University Library. London. 

J. LAIRD : A Study in Moral Theory. Allen & Unwin. 

Standard Authorities 

PLATO : The Republic. Davies and Vaughan's Translation. 
Golden Treasury Series. Macmillan. London. 

ARISTOTLE : The Nichomachean Ethics. Chase's Transla- 
tion. Scott Library. London. 

KANT : Foundation of Metaphysic of Morals. Translation 
Abbott. Longmans, Green & Co. London. 

BUTLER : Sermons and Dissertation on Virtue. G. Bell & 
Sons, London. 

MILL : Utilitarianism. Longmans, Green & Co. London. 
GREEN : Prolegomena to Ethics. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 


Action : 

instinctive, 12-18 

intentional, 22-25 

reflex, 9-12 

Application of ethical prin- 
ciples, 7!-i43 
Aristotle, quoted, 66, 121 

referred to, 114, 127, 140 
Authority, 98 
Axiomata media, 96 

Bartlett, F. C., quoted, 138 
referred to, 139, 140 

Behaviour and conduct, 9-36 
instinctive, 12-18 

Benevolence, 62, 108 

Bentham, J., referred to, 38, 
59, 60, 109, 117 

Bradley, F. H , quoted, 49 

Breach of trust, 104, 105 

Butler, J., quoted, 39, 56, 57 

Categorical imperative, 48 

Character, 77-91 

Choice, 33 

Citizenship, 64 

Community life, problems of, 

Complex, 84 
Conduct, behaviour and, 9- 


Conflict of duties, 97-113 
Conscience, 88 
' Coriolanus ', 79-81 
Courage, 65, 140, 141 

Darling, Grace, referred to, 

r. - 6 < 

Desire, 23 

Determinism, 91-92 
Divine Law, 52 
Dominant goods, 63, 96 
Drever, Prof. J., quoted, 16 
referred to, 131, 132 

Duties : 

and virtues, 63-68 
conflict of, 97-113 
other-regarding, 64, 1 1 1- 

self -regarding, 64, 111-113 

Education, 64 
Ethical principles, 3-68 
Ethics, Christian, 51, 57, 67 
Etiquette, 4 
Evolutionary ethics, 53 
Expediency and moral judg- 
ment, 47 
Extra vert, 130 

Family ties, 64, 119 
Free will, 91-94 

Galsworthy, J., referred to, 


Good, 48, 57-63 
Grace Darling, referred to, 64 
Gratitude, 113 
Green, T. H., quoted, 39, 60, 

61, 67, 68 

Habit : 

initiative and, 137 

resolution and, 34-36 
Habitude, 36 
Hastings Rashdall, quoted, 

108, 109 
Hedonism : 

egoistic, 57 

psychological, 30, 91 

universal, 57-58 
Hobbes, T., referred to, 56 
Humour, 142 

Idee fixe, 25-26 
Ideo-motor actions, 25-26 
Imagination, 135 
Imperative, categorical, 48 



Instincts : 

general, 15-16 

specific, 15-16 
Institution, 7, 64 
Intention, 27 
Intentional action, 22-25 
Interest, 16 
Introvert, 130 
Intuitive judgments, 59, 62 

James, W., referred to, 27, 

73> 129, 13? 
Jung, Prof A., quoted, 130 

referred to, 130 
Justice, 62, 64, 65, 103, 108, 
no, 121 

Kant, I., quoted, 48, 55, 61, 


referred to, 62 
Kretschmer, referred to, 128 

Laird, J., referred to, 103 
Law, 4-5 

moral, 51-57 
Leadership, 138-140 
Leslie Stephen, quoted, 39 
Libertananism, 91 
Loyalty, 101, 106, 107, 123 

McDougall, Prof. W., refer- 
red to, 14 
Marriage, 64 

Martineau, J., quoted, 39 
Meaning, definition of, 20 
Mill, J. S., quoted, 30, 38 

referred to, 59 
Moral end, 57-63 
Moral judgment, 37-50 

determination of, 51-63 

meaning of, 41-50 

reference of, 37-41 
Moral law, 51-57 
Motive, 27 

strongest, 92 
Motives, conflict of, 31 

disinterested and inter- 
ested, 29-30 

Nature, source of law, 52-54 

Obedience, 64 
Obligation : 

legal, 4-6 

moral, 4-6 
Obligations, 3-4 
Ought, 42-48 

Passion, 74 
Pavlov, Prof., 10-11 
Persona] service, 126 
Plato, quoted, 65-66 

referred to, 103, 108, 109, 

114, 140 
Pride, 78-81 

Problems, ethical, 95-124 
Property, 64 
Prudence, 62 
Psychological hedonism, 30, 


Punishment, 60, 91, 117 
Purpose, 28 

Rashdall, Hastings, quoted, 

108, 109 
Reason : 

as motive, 92-93 

practical, 62 

universal, 54 
Reflex, conditioned, 10 
Reflexes, o-n 
Remorse, 116 

Resolution and habit, 34-36 
Right, 47 

materially, 41 

objectively, 41 

subjectively, 41 
Rights, 3-4 

St. Paul, referred to, 57, 67 
Self, 71-73 

as source of law, 54-57 

moral, 62 

Self-control, 114-115 
Self-determinism, 91-94 
Self-love, 78-81 
Self-realization, 60-6 1 
Self -sacrifice, 118-120 



Sentiment, conflict of, with 

duty, 113-116 
Sentiments, 73-77 
moral, 87 

organization of, 83-88 
relative strength of, 81-88 
religious, 89 
Service, personal, 126 
Shakespeare, ' Conolanus ', 


Shame, 116 
Shand, A., referred to, 73, 74, 

76, 85, 127 
Sidgwick, H , quoted, 49, 59, 


referred to, 62, 88 
Sincerity, 142 

Spencer, H., quoted, 53, 54 
Stephen, Leslie, quoted, 39 
Stoics, referred to, 53 
Stout, Prof. G. F., referred to, 


Suggestion, 21 
Sufiy, J., referred to, 36 

Temperament, 127-129 
Temperance, 64, 65, 114-115 
Thrift, 64 
Toleration, 120 
Truth-speaking, 64, 103 

Universal hedonism, 57-58 

reason, 54 
Unpleasant and right, 105 

Value : 

definition of, 1 1 

transference of, i9 
Values : 

acquired, 19-22 

primitive, 16 
Veracity, 122 
Virtues, duties and, 63-68 
Vocation, 125-143 

Volition, 25 
Will, 91 

free, 91-94 
Wisdom, 64, 123-124, 141 

Zeno, referred to, 53 

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